Saturday, October 13, 2012
GETTING THE WILLIES
In this morning's LA Times the picture above appeared, along with a story of a man finding this really large eye as he walked along the sand at Pompano Beach, north of Fort Lauderdale. He said it appeared to be very fresh, noting that it still had blood on it. If it hasn't already been sent, it soon will be heading to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Intitute in St. Petersburg. It is about as big as a baseball, the story notes, and so far no one can figure what kind of an animal, fish or otherwise is the owner of such an eye of that size. (It of course has assumed the sobriquet "Ol' Blue Eyes.")
Well, looking at it gives me the willies! The black and white picture in the Times was bad enough, but seeing it in full, glorious color is just too much! Much as I love blue eyes, I may certainly have bad dreams over this one!
Which reminds me of the one other thing in the world that gives me the willies....and that is seeing an empty swimming pool.
Now I'm going to be honest with you in exposing my one little psychological quirk. I can account for why I don't like them and why I avoid them like the plague if I expect one is anywhere in the vicinity. My psyche tells me that the blue eye and the blue pool are both willie-worthy.
During my years in Scouting, the girls of Troop 28 in Long Beach took swimming lessons at the old YWCA in Long Beach. The Y had quite a large enclosed swimming pool. If you were taking lessons you stayed on the ground floor around the pool. If you were merely watching, you would go up to the second floor balcony and watch the activity below. We often arrived early for our group lessons, so after changing into our bathing suits we all would sit in the balcony to watch the swimmers below. If I had to guess, I would say we probably were somewhere between 9th and 11th graders then.
A few years later I had a nightmare about that pool. I dreamed I was in the balcony with my friends and one of them decided to dive into the pool. At the very moment she pushed off from the railing, the water in the pool drained out instantly and her head hit the bottom of the now-empty pool. Warm blood splashed up on us in the balcony. END OF DREAM.
Who knows where dreams come from? Why does the mind make them so awful sometimes? However, I survived both the dream and swimming and went on to become a Mariner Scout, spending the last four years of my scounting experience on and in the water, as all good Long Beach teenagers did.
But from that point on, I never could look at an empty swimming pool. Just the idea of it gave me the willies. Of course I didn't have all that many occasions to see an empty pool, but I do remember that one year in college I counselled at a church camp and upon my arrival discovered the pool had not yet started to be filled. As the pool was right next to the entry of the "mess hall" I had to avert my eyes to stave off that creepy feeling.
Many, many years later Jerry and I bought a house with a swimming pool. At one time we needed to have some repair work done on it, which necessites it being drained. I was a big girl now, I told myself, and I could handle this. In fact, when it was finally dried out for the repair, I chose to walk down into the pool, asking the workmen to show me where the repairs were going to be made. They didn't know I was trying to desensitize myself. I wasn't crazy about walking around that dry pool bottom, but I felt it was a tiny bit of mental health exercise I needed to do.
That probably was the last time I ever had occasion to see an empty pool, but seeing the big eye in the newspaper this morning reminded me of my one acknowledged psychological foible.
Since nothing else gives me the willies, I guess I could say I don't feel the need to crawl on the Freudian couch at this stage. But that eye......