Up up and away31 January 2018 permalink
I guess today is finally the day. I’ve been wanting to open up about it for a long time, and since I’m virtually anonymous here, I pretty much can say whatever the hell I want. And you probably will be polite about it, and listen. So here goes nothing.
I haven’t admitted this freely to anyone yet, but thinking about gravity often causes an impending sense doom in me. It’s called barophobia and it’s a real thing. I has been weighing heavy on my heart the first day I left the delicious bouyancy of prebirth. Unlike most other barophobes, I do not actually that gravity might increase to the point that I might become spherical. My fear is much stupider. Whenever I’m in a building with a high ceiling, I’m terrified that gravity might reverse direction, accelerating me enough to leave me a wee crimson smudge on an otherwise pristine ceiling.
Like any good phobia worth cultivating, I keep touching it like a loose tooth. I love coming up with several complicated analysis and theories about how it works. Hell, there’s nothing much else to do then theorize when you’re obsessively gazing at the ground. So I present you with my commandments, and I welcome you to my preposterous madness.
Rule nr 1: Location, location, location. A good place to fear death should be worth being remembered over. St Peter’s. The St Hubertus gallery in Brussels. The blue mosque in Istanbul. I have particularly fond memories of dying a million deaths while traversing Grand Central Station in New York. Sometimes I think I should embrace my destiny, and lie on my back on the floor of the Sixteenth Chapel. Arms wide open, waiting till gravity lifts me into God’s transcendental embrace.
Rule nr 2: There is a very real possibility that gravity might not reverse. I’ve only observed it rotating in straight angles, but that’s probably attributable to human buildings tending to be built in orthogonal ways. This fear usually manifests when looking at a tall building from a big distance. For example, the sweet agony of caressing my lover’s face when she lies in my lap, visualizing hurtling across Siena’s picturesque main square before death scrapes my puddle-like self off the tower. Or imagine admiring the Flatiron, the first skyscraper of New York. An office tower where they had to pay the workers double, as everyone was convinced it would fal over in the first week. Meanwhile I’m concerned I might fall into it. Perhaps I can admire it’s fine masonry detailing in my final moments.
Rule nr 3: Stick to the sides. Many building have a small slope where the ceiling meets the wall. If I get lucky, that might make me skid onto the ceiling rather than careening into it. I don’t actually believe this, but I do get some comfort out of pretending I believe this.
Rule nr 4, which might explain rule nr 3 to some extent. The angle matters. I’m not afraid of falling into a mountain slope or pyramid. But I am terrified of falling into a cliff or monolith. Generalizing, the more perpendicular and planar a surface, the more it evokes horror. That’s why man-made structures feature so prominently in my fears. Fascist architecture, like Milan’s central station, is especially bad. No surprise there.
Rule nr 5: The sky is actually not terrifying. Even if gravity would reverse, I just slowly asphyxiate while having a killer view. Not scary at all. Hypothetical. Gravity simply doesn’t reverse when you’re outside.
Rule nr 6: The major exception of rule nr 5 is that sometimes the sky turn into a ceiling. Or even most of the times. Starry skies are especially dangerous. Cloudy skies aren’t ceilings though, I can safely look at them. This might seem counter intuitive, but direct experience has proven this to be another fundamental rule.