It’s time for something scary. What follows is terrifying and true. True-ish. It isn’t quite Hallowe’en, but near enough, so I thought I’d share an irrational fear of mine. That could be quite a long list, but no worries, I’ve chosen just the one. It’s not easy to confront a fear, but I think this post could be therapeutic.
That’s right! I don’t enjoy going in the water! Or to be more precise, I don’t like what comes out of the sea. Now, I’ve watched Jaws many times, and love the movie – but not the sequels, they are scary for all the wrong reasons – yet I don’t have a fear of sharks. I’m not afraid of sea lions, sea otters are beyond cute, whales are wonderful, and seals are just fine too. So what is the problem? It’s the tangling terror and sliminess of seaweed, the near-invisible wobbliness of jellyfish. Sea slugs? Eek! Don’t even get me started on the large staring eyes of a squid. I could go on, and I probably will…
For me, a lot of underwater creatures are too alien, and not in a friendly E.T. way. It’s like they’re from another world, clearly because they’re almost from another world. A waterworld. (Kevin Costner’s gills were scary, weren’t they?) I do understand that many people love the other-worldly appearance of sea creatures, but it is a world too far for me. I like to be on the water but not in it.
Mrs. PC knows I have issues with some forms of under-the-sea life. She encouraged me to visit the Ucluelet Aquarium with her. The aquarium is very well regarded by people who know about these sort of things. She went without me the first time (I was very busy that morning, with something very busy and important that needed my undivided attention) to see if it would be ok for me to go there. She came back very impressed, said I’d like it. Friends visited the aquarium (I was busy that morning, too) and came back very impressed, and couldn’t believe I’d not been there – they said I’d like it. I was beginning to suspect a plot, some sort of intervention or shock therapy treatment, but maybe that’s how fear gnaws at you, makes you paranoid. My mother visited the aquarium (yup, busy) and came back very impressed. Apparently, I’d like it.
I caved. I visited the aquarium, and was very impressed. A catch and release aquarium full of exotic looking sea monsters – I mean creatures. The young marine biologists working there are notably enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their marine charges. Some of the specimens are housed in touch tanks (no chance) and all are displayed quite brilliantly. On my visit, small children darted here and there (rather like the small fish in some tanks) going from tank to tank, clearly excited about each exhibit. The adults seemed pretty thrilled too, but I was beginning to struggle. I lasted about twenty minutes, and then had to leave, sweaty of palm, light of head, and needing the cool air. It was the octopus that did it, clambering and tentacling (that’s a word, now) menacingly along the glass towards me. Even now, I shudder. Mrs. PC is talking about a seasonal aquarium membership, and I’m lining up a rewards card for the nearby coffee shop.
I love monster movies, and a particular favourite is John Carpenter’s version of The Thing. The special effects were very special for this nerdy young PlaidCamper back in the day. All those spidery legs and oozing intestinal items. Gross and cool when you’re a teen. The thing is, haha, whenever I see twisted piles of bull kelp washed up on the shore, I can’t help but think of The Thing. No, going back to the aquarium won’t help…
I don’t know where the problem started. Are the issues rooted in childhood? I do remember not enjoying rock-pooling with my grandfather on Sheringham beach when I was very young. Yes, what an ungrateful young PlaidCamper. And I hated taking the short cut through “smelly alley” in Reading, preferring the long way round rather than having to inhale the aromas coming from several fishmongers. Then there was the time I was really, really thirsty at the beach, probably after several hours of rock-pooling fun. I was so thirsty, I gulped a couple of huge – huge! – mouthfuls of clear water from a lovely looking pool (I didn’t know it was salt water until I threw up mere seconds later – experiential learning…) Oh, and I have a memory of one of my brothers eating a tadpole. That could mess with your mind, couldn’t it?
No doubt the complicated causes of my sea terrors are beyond the scope of science and modern medicine to explain. I like to think so! As if I’d exaggerate a slight dislike for the way seaweed can get tangled in your legs. A fear of sea monsters? Me? C’mon! Actually, sea monsters would be cool, because they’re not real, unlike seaweed and squid…I’m not going back to the aquarium.
Let’s leave it there, as I’m starting to feel slightly lightheaded. If Hallowe’en is your thing, then do enjoy it. I’ll be cowering indoors – what if one of the local children comes knocking, and they’re dressed as The Little Mermaid?
Thanks for reading, feel free to share an irrational/slightly made up fear for Hallowe’en, and have a wonderful weekend!
12 thoughts on “Monstrous!”
This was hilarious, pc, I laughed a lot, thank you.
Thanks, Jet! I enjoyed writing it, and very happy you had some time to read and laugh along.
I hope you are making progress and moving towards something resembling a more normal situation.
I enjoyed this. I do like being in the water, but the places that hold the types of monsters you speak of are a bit more intimidating. As far as Jaws. I do ever so enjoy the first and second one, but the others are scarier…merely for the fact that they were made in the first place. Have an amazing weekend!
Thanks! Yes, those sequels, what were they thinking? Apart from dollars, obviously…Michael Caine has had a few low points in a pretty good career, but was there a lower point than Jaws: The Revenge?!
I hope your week is going well, and enjoy this evening!
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Have a brave and happy Halloween, PC! You should, since you’ve faced the squelchy and squirmy demons of the undersea quite valiantly and with humor. I wish I could face my own nightmares (based in U.S. politics) so effectively. At least you’ve got a beautiful surface of the ocean there to contemplate and enjoy.
Thanks, Walt! And since you wrote your comment, what do you know, the political nightmare continues to worsen – hopefully the current incumbent is experiencing some sleepless nights, and I don’t mean due to his pathetic early hours Twitter addiction.
Enjoy this evening if you’re receiving ghostly visitors, and have a pleasant week outdoors should time and circumstances allow!
Loved the photos (especially A Beautiful Water World) and the scary movie references (loved E.T. and Jaws). I have to admit that I prefer being in a kayak or boat compared to being in the water, but one spider or bug crawling around my kayak immediately puts me at the risk of losing the paddle or flipping the kayak and taking a swim. I started watching Season 2 of Stranger Things this weekend and was going to blame any new nightmares on the Shadow Monster, but I have to agree that the tangled mess on the beach is the stuff of nightmares. I hope your therapeutic post helped a little or that at least the Tofino Stout calmed your nerves. Happy Halloween!
Thank you, and a happy Halloween to you! Oh yes, if the wrong sort of bug was in the kayak, I’d be forced to make a tough decision – you’ll have me checking under the seat now you’ve planted that thought!
Thoroughly enjoying the new season of Stranger Things, such a nostalgia blast, but it is so much more than that. I was trying really hard to limit it to one episode an evening, but no, and now I’ve only two left. I’m worse than a kid with candy…
Enjoy this evening!
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I once saw a Hag fish. You would not like them & boy do they ever excrete slime!
I almost drowned as a little girl which put the fear of water into mr for many years until I learned to swim as an adult. Aquariams I can handle, as for seaweed, eek. Enjoyed this post, it was fun!
Yikes, that’ll have you learning to swim, and then still be cautious.
My mum never learned, but insisted we did. I got pretty good, badges and certificates up to a mile, but I still prefer calm water to waves, if I’m in it.
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Yeah me too. I decided to learn after I met my now hubby. He was into scuba diving and boating back then so it seemed a good idea.