#259 - 263. 5 Things that Aren't Scary in Theory, but Still Freaked Me Out.

Exhibit A: Caring for houseplants. 

Exhibit A: Caring for houseplants. 

I'm often asked, "How do you come up with so many things that scare you?"

Easy. There is a lot of mundane shit that freaks me out. 

So many things, in fact, that I simply felt that devoting an entire post to many of them wasn't worth anyone's time. A montage on the other hand... well, that couldn't be more perfect. Here are five minor things that nearly did me in.

#259. Filling My Gas Tank.

Not the station I was at, but also probably a weird place to refuel | Photo: BP bensinstasjon, Nøtterøy CC BY-SA 3.0 

Not the station I was at, but also probably a weird place to refuel | Photo: BP bensinstasjon, Nøtterøy CC BY-SA 3.0 

Normally, this isn't scary. Yes, I drive a Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which runs on diesel. This isn't an issue in my regular life. If the gas station I'm at doesn't have diesel, I just drive across the street and typically that gas station has it.

However, recently I was driving to Madison, Wisconsin and was running low on fuel. I stopped at a BP off I-94. The only diesel pumps were behind the gas station, 100 percent designed for semis. 

These pumps don't look like regular pumps. No place to swipe your credit card; the nozzle (designed for big trucks) is too big to fit a regular ol' car tank. Gas will probably spray all over your hands. Truck drivers won't offer to help; they'll just look at you funny and maybe ask, "What kinda car is that there guy?"

After 20 minutes, I'd successfully filled my tank with 12 drips of gas. My hands smelled of diesel, I felt trucker eyeballs burning into the back of my head, and I was on the verge of tears. I said screw it and got back on the highway. It was stupid and I coasted into Madtown on fumes, but made it. I should've asked for help, but instead I freaked and fled. 

#260. Extra in A Video

My friend Maggie & I were heading to dinner and ran into another friend of mine, Matt Houchin. Matt is funny and kind of big deal on the Internet. Have you heard this hysterical Nickelback-inspired song

Anyhow, he was filming some sort of video which required three things:

1) An umbrella  2) A grown man in a blue spandex body suit  3) Two extras to hold the umbrella.

He asked Maggie & I if we'd be extras. Of course, we didn't really want to because it was awkward, but then we decided that wasn't a good enough reason to not help a friend out. 

So we did & it looked like this:

Video extras in Minneapolis, ft Matt Houchin & some guy in a blue spandex bodysuit. 

Video extras in Minneapolis, ft Matt Houchin & some guy in a blue spandex bodysuit. 

We had to act surprised when the guy in the blue spandex suit jumped on top of the umbrella. Maggie & I are not especially talented in the acting department, so I'm sure we look like absolute fools in the finished video (honestly, I think we're cutting room floor material). But we put ourselves out there and it was a little scary and a lot awkward. #heyeleanor

#261. Write a Letter to My Local Government

Maybe you've seen Nicole Curtiss' DIY show, Rehab Addict. If not, the gist: she finds historical, dilapidated homes scheduled to be demolished, buys them for pennies and restores them to their original grandeur. She happens to live in Minneapolis, so many of her restoration projects are in the Twin Cities. Recently, she tried to save this historic Healy home that was to be torn down to make room for this:

I guess 45+ neighbors are moving in soon! | Lander Group photo

I guess 45+ neighbors are moving in soon! | Lander Group photo

And it's right down the street from our house.

Now, listen. I am not anti-new construction. I love a good apartment building with retail or decent restaurant, possibly with a pool I can sneak into mid-summer. However, there are literally dozens of these places popping up all over our neighborhood. Parking and traffic sucks more and more with each passing year. And if I have to see one more douchey MF ad campaign, written by "old professionals" who think they know what "young professionals" want, my brain is going to explode.

I know I sound old and cranky, but my neighborhood's charm is disappearing. It used to be cool here, now it's becoming filled with shiny but mediocre housing & businesses. So upon Nicole's urging, I wrote an email to the city council asking them to reconsider the teardown. I'd never done something like that before.

Despite lots of protest, the city decided to tear down the home. I received two responses from the city council-- one from council member Andrew Johnson who said he couldn't comment due to its "quasi-judicial nature"; another from council member Lisa Bender, who responded thoughtfully & explained why she'd voted for demolition. Though I disagreed, I appreciated her explanation. Still, I was proud of myself for writing them a letter. 

#262. Returned Meat to the Grocery Store

This pork stinks, give me my money back. 

This pork stinks, give me my money back. 

I bought a pork tenderloin at the grocery store. When I opened the package, it literally smelled like death, farts, vomit and prison. No way I was eating that!

I always feel weird returning food to a grocery store. It's a time-consuming task usually involving a low-priced item and generally not worth the hassle. But this was kind of an expensive cut of meat, plus it seemed unsafe for human consumption & I thought they should know. They were super nice about taking it back, but less phased by the characteristics of the funky meat. 

I got a full refund, but their ho-hum attitude about the death meat made me never want to purchase protein there ever again. 

#263. Secret Scary Thing.

I did something outside of my comfort zone that I pinky-swore I wouldn't write about, but I'm still taking credit for it. Hence, #263.

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PS Some other mundane stuff that made me lose it includes shopping here, buying and caring for houseplants (which are STILL alive-n-kickin'!) & doing this one thing many women my age do multiple times a day. What can I say? I'm your run of the mill wimp.