Being Human

SockfluffI have an insane fear of fluff.  Not any old fluff you understand, just the sort of fluff that gets left on the carpet, mostly of the sock variety.  Thankfully most of my floors are covered in vinyl and laminate, rather than carpet, so it’s not reached the peak of ‘phobia’ just yet.  It’s the fear of the ‘unknown’, I think; dark uncertain objects lurking on -or worse in– my carpet.  It could be anything! Not anything hideous or harmful, but some unspecified ‘creepy-crawly’ : slaters, silver fish, carpet beetles, larder beetles, fur beetles, biscuit beetles, mutant bed bugs, all marvellously innocuous sounding.  The point is, they are creatures from ‘out there’ and should not, to my mind, be ‘in here’!

I’m not arachnaphobic – if it’s a spider I’m very happy.  I like spiders.  Spiders kill flies (I HATE flies).  Spiders may require relocating from the bedroom carpet, but they’re fine elsewhere, doing their spidery stuff.  Other unspecified creatures I don’t have as much truck with.  They need to go.  They don’t have to have their life extinguished for the benefit of my irrational dislike of their choice of habitat, but they do need to be somewhere other than my boudoir floor; the space under my feet where I can tread on them at night, when I can’t see what I’m treading on…

Mostly I’m pleased to say, the unspecified objects are indeed sock fluff: dark threads, sinister blobs and bubbles masquerading as the dreaded arthropods.  It can look amazingly life-like, animated even, by the light of a 15 watt energy-saving bulb at 10pm, believe me!

Of course the definition of a phobia is an irrational fear. Our caveman selves probably had very rational fears of what was ‘out there’ – the things that they had to share their lives with that they understood and feared because they might actually get them!

We are still sharing our lives with all manner of things, albeit less and less variety of creatures each year, and very few in this country likely to get us.  We are still competing for food and territory, although we have a better understanding of our fragile eco-system, our necessarily shared resources.  Or do we, protected as we are by manmade constructs, with only bugs on the carpet to fear?  And there’s always that hoover in the cupboard…