Friday, December 04, 2009

A Brand New Phobia! Just for Me!

I seem to have picked up an interesting new phobia.

Perhaps phobia is not quite the right word. Phobias are by definition irrational. My little tic has its basis in something that, while very unlikely to happen, has happened in the past, and will likely happen again.

I have been using public transportation to commute to work. A long train ride through Maryland to Union Station in the District, and then a short Metro hop into Arlington. Pretty relaxing ride, and as long as I catch the 7:07AM out of Brunswick, I'm there in good time.

My problem is this: as Metro trains approach the station, I find myself making sure no one is standing behind me to push me in front of the train. I back away from the platform edge and make sure there are people between me and the tracks, so I'm harder to push in. And if someone should sneak around behind me while the onrushing train nears, I move in the opposite direction so he is no longer behind me.

Strange, no? During the New York years, I don't remember having this fear -- despite racking up thousands of subway hours. Perhaps it was subconsciously instilled in me after reading an article -- can't remember where -- about the guilt subway conductors feel years after having driven a train that ran over a suicide.

What was the movie where the hero saves someone who's been pushed onto the tracks by jumping in, grabbing the victim and rolling into the space under the platform just as the train passes? Seems like something a Clooney could pull off...

13 comments:

The Viscount LaCarte said...

I would say that is good sense. I used to do that when I was in NY too. Always be aware of your surroundings Hassgropper.

pumescar

CrayolaThief said...

Here in NYC, I do the exact same thing. Very wary, especially when on a crowded platform. I also try to keep my back to one of those pillars, so no one can sneak up on me from behind without at least giving my peripheral vision a fighting chance. I don't know about calling it a phobia, I've always considered it downright paranoia.

I believe there's a scene somewhat like you describe in Young Tom Edison, though maybe you're thinking of something more modern. Such as the true account of Wesley Autrey, Subway Hero of recent memory.

Kate in Brooklyn said...

That hero is a true story. Don't know about a movie.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Autrey
Your biggest fear in a NYC subway now would be someone grabbing your 'Droid and running out as the doors close.

Candlefiregirl said...

It also happened to an inebriated young woman using the Boston subway recently (a few months ago), where she accidentally fell onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. The conductor was able to stop just short of crushing her (miracle)...and several heros helped her up off the tracks. She luckily managed to also avoid falling on the third rail. Anyway... I have the same phobia you do...so join the club.

Shifty said...

Get a pair of these:
http://www.ajoka.com/Spy_SunGlasses/AJ-007SG4.htm

When you see fate bearing down from behind, you can just duck and let him fly right by, then look around innocently like, 'what was that wh.

Plus, you can see if anyone is checking out your backside.

giggles said...

Crowds are scary....especially the bigger they get. And ignorance is bliss.... We've seen that scene too often on tv or in the movies.... Makes it all the more possible, all the more real.... You're just being smart, I say. Nothing wrong with that!

Decatur Dem said...

That certainly doesn't sound irrational, not when you can get stampeded trying to get into a WalMart on Black Friday.
There was an episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets in which someone was pushed over the edge and trapped between the train and the platform, all but cutting him in two at the waist. Gave me the shivers for a week.

Linkmeister said...

After eight years of Bush, you have residual paranoia, and who can blame you?

Jeremy said...

DC Metro? And you've seen State of Play? I'd say your behaviour was extremely rational.

dmh_phoenix said...

Yup, rational. (Trains are dangerous!) Therefore, not a phobia.

Kevin Wolf said...

Nope, not paranoia. I did the same in my NYC days and in my Boston commute.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

yep, seems reasonable to me.

especially if you ignore the zombies lurching up from eh sides while you are doing so.

Hipy Papy pthapy Zombiemas!!

ps. CanNOT wait to hear this year's collabo with BG, (should you choose to accept it). Last year's was sublime.

Batard said...

I´ve been plagued by paranoia since my days as a public defender. I literally had to take a ¨vacation" from work to get the panics attacks under control. A few years later I heard that a prosecutor whose family was quite powerful politically and who people in Charleston SC would never have thought would have this kind of problem did. But he was having paranoia every time a brush or twig brushed against his window at home and thought that the criminals he´d prosecuted had broken out of jail and were trying to get in his house. This was told to me by a very old man so it happened 50 years or so ago so Iḿ sure heś gone, but it was good to know that my paranoia was something like his. A good part of it was guilt, in his case for hurting some good people I guess, and in mine for feeling like I could have done more and dwelling on that.

And Iḿ just guessing, but being a liberal in America and writing a blog can itself cause paranoia. The hate out there that is created by our media naturally should make someone who is a liberal feel paranoid. So Iḿ making a wild guess that this blog and your politics might have something to do with it. If I were you I´d find a good therapist to talk this out with. Someone you trust if you can find one, as this kind of paranoia can grow. I know because I ignored mine for too long and had to take that vacation that marked me for life, at least in my own mind. However one thing I did learn from my own therapy was that sometimes paranoia can come from being too self minded and thinking about oneself too much. Although I think yours is primarily just a survival instinct kicking in so yours would be on the mild side if thatś all it is. But being a liberal is hard these days and just hearing the hate talk causes many of us much harm. So maybe thatś whatś propelled your survival instinct into something greater than perhaps it should be.