I have an irrational fear. I don't know where it came from. I don't recall a definitive moment when I acquired this fear, but it is there, lurking beneath the surface of my consciousness.
Of course, it comes and goes in intensity. Like a tic I have forgotten I have, until it rears its ugly head and I am ever aware of it for the next several weeks...or months.
My fear? Being stabbed by a person walking by me on the street. Nothing flashy, nothing "Psycho"-esque. Just a random stranger walking by, sliding a thin stiletto blade into my belly, as they keep walking. This person doesn't know me. Hasn't got it in for "Me" in particular, just a random serial stabber.
I know. Weird. But this fear has been there for as long as I can recall. I remember being nine and having this fear. For awhile it had a companion fear, the one I like to call "Fear of being shot to death in your bed while you sleep by an unknown assailant". For several years, I would fall asleep facing the door - so I could see death coming for me, were it to make it's move. As if I had something I could bargain with - "But wait, unknown assailant - I will grow up and make quilts and write things on the Internet, and have some mental health issues, but generally be a decent person. Isn't there some kid MORE deserving of death than I?"
Part of my city fear has been tied up in these two other fears. Being in a city, one would more likely encounter the stiletto wielding pedestrian than say - Vermont. While my chances of dying in a snow related car accident, or a potential moose mauling increased - Death by sneaky stabber was low.
I'd actually forgotten these two fears in the last two years or so. Having gone to New York and Detroit and not being stabbed, nor shot to death in my bed seemed to allay the twin fears.
"Oh Look", said Dawns irrational stabbing fear, "I can walk in a crowded street, or get on a subway and not meet my doom at the hands of some unfeeling sociopath."
"I know!", responded Dawns irrational shotgun while sleeping fear, " We've slept in these scary cities and no one has shot us in the head while we sleep!"
I feel successful. I have showed the fears that they have no power here.
"Psssst", whispers Dawns fear of dying in a fiery high altitude plane crash and being eaten by the survivors, "I'm still here."
I roll my eyes at it. "Fuck off", I say.
The good news is that I no longer have (some of) these fears after living in Montreal since 2006. The bad news? My phobia of being in a bus with smelly people has increased. As in "I have never been on a bus in Montreal because I just can't bear the idea of people who smell being too close to me and me starting to gag".
And my fear of being questioned in rapid French. That has definitely emerged since moving here.