August 22nd, 2002

2020 lack of vision

the things that terrified you as a kid

A week of fear it's been for me. Fear of not finishing, fear of separation, fear of facing down hordes of 11 year olds/talented artists (different fears, same cold sweat) and a terrible moment of bicycle terror on the way under the railway bridge. Meeting new boss, old friends, narked workmates, a neglected contact. Into the cinema to hide giant spiders behind my fingers for modern b-movie classic Eight Legged Freaks. And then there was that t-shirt.

It was a pretty cool t-shirt, showing some guy stuffing his face on comics and I couldn't see why it was so scary. "It's one of those pictures that go in forever," he said, "they used to terrify me when I was a kid." And I looked again and it was, one of those pictures with a picture inside the picture and then another picture inside the picture and then another picture inside the picture and then another and so on until it was too small to see. And that got me thinking, about the stuff you're terrified of when you're a kid, not the (mostly) rational stuff like rats or the dark or that fucking vicar, but the abstract stuff, the weird, unjustifiable stuff.

I remember clearly being terrified of what was happening off the edge of pictures, or just out of sight, or in the next room. Painted pictures hung on the wall with nobody in them were the worst. I'd be scared to take my eyes off them. If I could lift the frame to look behind them, I could get rid of some of the fear, but often I couldn't bring myself to touch them and pictures tend to be out of reach anyway when you're small, and anyway, you can't get rid of an irrational fear using rational means and even then I knew it wasn't rational to be scared something that wasn't there in a place that didn't exist. So, what were you afraid of?

Speaking of fear, some days I do this for a living.

And oxfordhacker and probably a few others should look at my latest toy camera post.
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