One day when I was a kid, I very grandly announced to my parents that when I grew up, I was going to become a marine biologist. No doubt this surprised the heck out of my parents, as I had never shown any appreciable talent or interest in the biological sciences (my parents still speak in disbelieving, vaguely awed terms about the Sunday evening in grade 2 when I commented rather nonchalantly that I had a leaf project due the next morning. Cue my mother frantically running around our not-insubstantial front lawn scooping up handfuls of wet, moldy leaves whilst yelping, “Maple! I’ve got a Maple! And, um…oh crap, what is this?! Oh, Poplar! Okay, next show momma an Oak!”)
They were probably also a bit surprised by my exclamation on account of the fact that for as long as I can remember, I have been terrified of large bodies of water and the critters that dwell beneath them. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a phobia in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t break out into hives or shriek at the mere sight of a river (good thing, too, since I live right beside one.) I’m also not so weird about it that I won’t boat or even, say, swim with sharks in a highly sanitized experience at Walt Disney World. But honestly, the mere thought of even wading into the ocean up to my mid-calves fills me with a kind of dread I just don’t need in my life. It’s mostly the not knowing that creeps me out – like, what is down there going about its business while my legs dangle enticingly above? I think I’d be okay scuba diving (in a group, please – safety in numbers!) because at least I’d be down there with the things that want to eat me, you know? Because it’s better to see the things that are going to shock, sting, squeeze and bite me to death, I guess?
Anyhow, I think it goes without saying my future plans did not pan out. But don’t worry, I’m not too broken up about it (neither are my parents; imagine them trying to fix my neglected shark project two hours before deadline!) Turns out I’d far prefer to paint pretty coral reefs on my nails than actually be underwater with them. 😉