fear of the great unwashed

by the end of the ride, I wonder who might have feared me?

What are your greatest fears? Do they include fear of germs, strangers, small/tight spaces, spiders, snakes, mice, traffic, flying, driving, walking, sitting (whew! Say that 3 times fast) or any others I failed to mention. What motivates these phobias? Is it possible to overcome them?

some of my worst angst to date

Some unfortunate fears I suffer from includes a few seriously unhealthy phobias to a few mild aversions. In good blogging form, I created a small list of what frightens me.

  • failure
  • abandonment
  • rejection
  • falling
  • getting lost (something I am quite adept at)
  • talking to strangers on the phone
  • disappointing those I love
  • being surrounded by dirty smelly people aka the great unwashed

what, what,what?

Dirty smelly people? How shallow can that be? This is probably one reason I don’t want to go to Burning Man. Running around filthy in the desert does nothing but freak me out. Another reason is, its too expensive and tickets are hard to come by but that is for another post.

When I amble by a member of the great unwashed I feel the terror setting in. Holding my breath, my pace quickens so I can get the heck out of there. Somehow I fear that by smelling their offensive odor, I might not be able to get rid of the scent for hours.

 bike ride into the territory of the great unwashed

A few Sundays ago, I was on a morning bike ride with my husband Robert. By the time we pedaled downtown, our water bottles were empty. With at least 15 miles left to get home, it was necessary to stop somewhere to refill supplies.

Robert is a big guy and no one really scares him. He pulled over at the nearest liquor store located on skid row and ventured in for some water, leaving me outside to watch the bikes. On the other hand, I was mortified by what I saw and smelled all around me.

The air stunk from a mixture of alcohol, sweat and piss. I was compelled to hold my breath as the aroma was heightened by the oncoming heat of the day. However, as I inhaled one last time, three men who had previously been seated on the sidewalk in front of the store began to approach me.

suck it up and put on my big girl panties!

At that moment, I could have easily hopped back onto the saddle and sprinted away on my bike, but that would have been rude. In a flash, I resolved to stay put and suck it up. If anything were to happen, I could scream and hopefully someone would come running to save me (yeah right).

As it turned out, these three men were perfectly harmless. They admired my new bike and asked me some questions about it. One of them told me that he liked to mountain bike, another talked about Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond. Because I consistently deal with the public, I had no problem putting on my happy face while participating small talk with my new BFF’s.

When Robert strode out of the shop with wide eyes, it was difficult keeping a straight face. We refilled our bottles, said good bye and once again hit the road. Immediately, he began laughing at me for my peril, but in actuality I was grateful. By forcing myself to stand alongside the great unwashed, I was no longer frightened of them.

lesson learned: smelling rotten doesn’t make you bad

By facing my fear head on, I was able to realize how unfounded it was. True, I wasn’t about to invite these men to my house for dinner anytime soon, but there was no reason to be anxious. Truthfully speaking, I didn’t smell too terrific by the time I arrived home from the ride. Luckily, I have no aversion to showers.

3 thoughts on “fear of the great unwashed

      1. eof737 says:

        Oh God! I never go in those… Although, I did use one in Oakland a few year ago. It was all they had at the event I attended and I can still smell the stench. Yikes!!!!


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