On the fear of dynousaurs and toilet flush

WARNING: This post contains strong visual images.

I used to be scared of toilet flushes on airplanes.
I bet you can mirror yourself into this as they flush EXTREMELY strong and loud. I once read about this woman who remained seated while flushing and her intestine had been partially sucked out (I warned you at the beginning of this post…). There was an happy ending though as the ambulance came promptly and the doctors eventually managed to insert it back. Despite I have been left utterly concerned and horrified by this story, I could also not be amazed by the progress of chirurgy and medicine we witness today – just picture me sighing slightly, tight up in a velvet corset dress inside my carriage, shattering across the dark fumes of a colonial London.
Well, together with their toilets, I used to be scared of airplanes in general. Not for the sake of it, but of flying of course. I should not say it too loud, but both of these fears are gone by now. I actually had to reassure a fully grown adult lady recently (on her 40s to make a polite guess) trying to make her overcome her fear of flying. It is about frequency, I told her. The evidence I brought is my experience, as the more I flew, especially alone, the less I was scared – it might have been surving on some really big turbulences over the Atlantic: however, it did not seem that she was fully convinced. Fair enough, you have to experience it on your skin to believe it.

Some time later, I happened to be in a haunted house – don’t be silly, one of those where you are asked to pay 20 euros at the entrance by a wannabe actor referring to you in a doubtful British accent. Together with me and my boyfriend, they entered these parents with their three daughters, the youngest being 3 and the oldest 8 spproximately. The two oldest siblings could do anything but screaming and crying, absolutely horrified by the whole live performances and installations inside the house, piercing their parents’ skins and ripping their clothes in grisps of desperation. The little daughter instead seemed absolutely fine, a soft expression of confusion transpassing from her eyes, as if she had just woke up. I have to admit that I had been quite impressed by some elements of the tour myself, let’s make the example of the one meter and a half magma/dinosaur figure popping out and screaming from a curtain in a pitch dark corridor, or the chamber in where remarkably realistic mutilied female bodies covered in blood were hung; tbh, I had been completely terrified by the whole experience, to put it bluntly. On the other side, (or my other half, ah) my boyfriend proved me once again to be the bravest human being to be living on this planet, as he lead the group in the utter dark while I kept myself attached to his back for the whole time, my eyes shut closed, and the family just behind me, moving tight together.

As me and my boyfriend were kindly refusing the pictures showing him wrapped by very familiar female arms, I found myself asking how could have things NOT have changed from when I was a kid myself. I have been used to go to amusement parks since young, and I kind of know that I am much more at peril when on a airplane 11000 meters from ground level rather than on a plastic 30 meters square building inhabited by actors. But what makes some fears disappear over time rather than others then? How could I grow out from my fear of flying and not from fake haunted houses? I know there are countless, heavily debated scientific dissertations on these matters that I definitely do not dare to put myself into – I am also writing from my phone on a train, imagine me chatting with a friend rather than embracing psychological questions. Moreover, while observing those photographs at the haunted house shop, I found my own answer: I never had to go alone in a haunted house – and wait, why on earth would anybody do that? – as I do with planes, but most importantly, I do have in this moment of my life someone willing to face any of the darkest corridors, dinosaur or badly paid actor for me, with me, and to be honest, this gives me all the excuses to just surrender in his lovely, beloved, protective arms.

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Fridge conversations

I took advantage of many writing techniques to express myself with: thanks to another blogger, I experimented years ago with the “word of the day” routine that you can still see now in the english section. The newsletter of an online dictionary gave me a daily erudite definition for “something that is lacking flavor, zest, animation, or spirit”. Or, as they put it, “vapid”.

Later on, a friend suggested -rather, shared his writing experience with me- to limit my thoughts on the notebook to one page. I thanked him and lasted half hour, as I really cannot contain my thoughts to just one page on all but the rarest of occasions.

Still, I persevere: whenever it comes to writing, I gladly challenge myself. I guess that since I’ve never been a professional writer it is exciting to undertake tasks as seriously as if I was paid for it.

Then, I discovered fridge magnets. Like four years ago, I was at my friends’ shared flat in Rome. It was late at night and we already had too much vodka: an ordinary college thursday night. It was the first time for me at their place. The dim cold neon bulbs above the steel shelves illuminated a watermelon that had been filled up with vodka. It was not summer yet. But the Bangla shop owner at the end of the streets did not care, and neither did we.

On the fridge, some words were stuck on it. Magnetised. Somehow unprompted; there were roses and red in a verse. It was a poem with no rhyme: but utterly beautiful.

I asked – Who wrote this? My friends shrugged their shoulders. “The previous renter” was the reply. They said it in Italian, so I knew it was a lady. I imagined her as a woman in her thirties, not as beautiful anymore as she had blossomed years before; before monetary restrictions and that bastard with whom she spent 5 years too many of her life and caused her a smoking addiction that made her cough every night before going to bed. Despite this, she was still beautiful. She knew where to find beauty: in red roses. It was not pathetic. It was quintessential.

Two years later, I was in a different house – mine – for the first time ever the bills quoted my first name, in front of a fridge my savings had bought, in a country I still try to settle in. Strolling in the streets of the city, in the process of discovery – my waitress position only kept me busy in the evenings, and sometimes in the mornings as recovery from the hangover. There was this shop selling world maps to scratch and solar powered statuettes of the Queen saluting or bulldogs nodding.

I peeked inside. There is no such thing like solecitous shop assistants in Belgium, and that woman’s eyes stuck on my moves revealed her fear of me stealing something. So when I found myself in front of that red box, despite it costing 20 euros and my still not having received my first month’s salary, I could not help but buy it. I was happy: I justified my presence to the woman and I could fill the surface of my new fridge that I believed looked so empty.

My first creation was something involving the only rude terms I could find in those magnets. What I would usually do then is spread the words – all, some – randomly on my kitchen table and pick those that in that moment sounded good together. These creations would not usually come up in any great grammar or sintax, or they would refer to stuff my boyfriend is not really pleased about. But every time I reassure him. Its not me who’s writing. Its a girl that never existed, created in the imagination of those drinking watermelon soaked in vodka.

Below is my latest creation. I recently have gone for dialogues. I feel that they can tell the double – how a person feels and how she or he looks like.

Sometimes I still pause and find it excitingly absurd – to place art so close to where I store chicken thighs.