• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Sing Hallelujah Come On Get Happy

To a startling and terrifying extent, I think about home invasions. I think about deer turning mean and deadly. I think about being run down by a bike, a car, a bus, a train. I fear running over the Holocaust survivor who jogs by my house every morning at 5:20. I fear squirrels when they stop chewing and take you in their sights. I fear people have died when they are late to meet me. Or that when they show, I won’t recognize them.  I fear that a bitchy email goes astray. I fear that people can read my mind. I fear my mind and the sink holes it seeks. I fear that I will always live in this body or never appreciate it. That I will fall out of  a helicopter. That I will be decapitated by her blades. That too many people will want to speak at my funeral and it will go on too long and that is all that anyone will remember instead of all the wonderful poems and songs and tributes to a person who lined her casket with bad jokes and Playbills from every show she’s ever seen.

What do you fear?

75 Responses

  1. I fear dying before I see The Hobbit. And the funeral thing. And the sound of the last of the tape coming off a cardboard tube. And mediocrity.

  2. This week, a new fear. A good friend has been diagnosed with ALS. She’s young. She’s fit. She’s the nicest person I know. And now, suddenly, she talks like she’s had a stroke. She can’t communicate. It’s moving fast, her ALS. She is, suddenly, out of nowhere, running out of time. I’m afraid I’m running out of time.

  3. I fear nothing. Well, pain.

    I have faced my biggest fear. I am Josephine Carr. I WAS a writer. Not anymore.

    Love you guys, J

  4. I fear Big Bang Theory won’t outlive me. I fear losing the snipit of hearing I have left. I fear I have no stories left in me to write. And that the ones I did will never see the light of publishing day. I fear falling in the pool while using the electric hedge trimmer.

  5. I don’t fear most things and the fears I do have are for others rather than myself. I fear something fatal or dibilitating happening to my kids, husband, or parents. And what my kids and husband would do if something happened to me (I’m the glue around here).

  6. Sharks. Getting murdered in the shower. Unintentionally snubbing someone, because I don’t have my glasses on and they’re more than ten feet away– or because I simply don’t recognize them. On that note: meeting someone for the second time and having to be reminded that we have already met. Getting sandwiched between an eighteen-wheeler and the concrete divider. Accidentally stabbing myself or jumping off a cliff. Slipping into the habit of wearing pleated pants and solid-colored, round-necked T-shirts. Crashing into the sea with no life raft. Orthopedic shoes. Church. Maggots. Coming home to find my dog missing. I could go on but dinner’s ready.

  7. “What do you fear?”

    Death. Life. Everything else.

  8. Inion: Tight spaces, losing loved ones, disappointment, failure.
    Mathair: Snakes, losing loved ones, losing control, failure.

  9. I fear steep drop-offs, spinning fans, obtuse criticism, and crowded events without adequate bathroom facilities.

  10. Being unloved. Or rather, not remembering I’m loved.

  11. What would you give for your kid fears?

  12. What do I fear? That the circular route I’m on is really linear. That I won’t find my way back to the page.

  13. My kind, sweet mother was killed by a brain tumor. Before it was over, she struggled with everything, but most of all the pain of having a thought and not being able to make the words come at all. I fear my kids seeing me like that, but know that things can happen fast, so that I may not have another choice.

    I fear becoming part of the mob, being swept away by the popular, of not having the spine to speak up, or at least to step aside and be no part of it. Parades are full of clowns and bandwagons and noise and horseshit, everything but quiet and opened minds.

    Years ago, I decided that I was afraid of bears, sharks, and alligators- things that could eat me alive- so I studied them, and then went where they lived. Got in waters with lots of sharks, and hunted alligators at night, in the swamp, once while getting really drunk. Haven’t been around bears yet, and don’t feel the need to, and don’t hunt alligators anymore; it wasn’t the challenge I thought it would be.

    I don’t fear the unknown; there’s too much of it to worry about. But I keep an eye on it.

    At the bottom, I fear being a coward, a disgrace ruled and guided and limited by my fears.

    • Two things about bears: they’re as slow as a hot, humid day until they see you and then they move like greased lightning, hopefully in the opposite direction. But I can think of worse company.

  14. Not being liked. Remaining anonymous helps enormously.

  15. I’m afraid of bridges—I’m afraid the car will slide off or the whole thing will come down with the kids in the car.

    I’m also afraid I won’t have a Real Book out before my Dad passes. He’s in good health, but he’s eighty, so . . . I’m gonna go get some editing down now . . .

  16. Lingering.
    Suffering.
    Forgetting.
    Remembering.
    Being a burden; a lump everybody wishes would just quietly pass away.
    Living too long.
    Not living long enough.

    • Well damn, Wry, you just about covered it.

    • What I really fear is that my existence is a waste of time. Why are we given the gift we are given (life) and then have to struggle so much to use that gift?

      Like I said just yesterday to a friend, I’m not a afraid to die, I’m afraid of not living.

      I’m also afraid I will run out of coffee. The world would suffer greatly from my wrath if that were so.

      • Consider roasting your own coffee. It’s one of the ways I try to convince myself that my existence is not a waste of time. It’s also fairly cheap and brews up well.

  17. My husband has Alzheimer’s. I fear the day when he doesn’t recognize our grown kids or me.

  18. I also have a dreadful fear of sharks and eighteen wheelers, it’s more the instants than anything else. I also don’t want to be buried up there on the hill below that ugly church with my neighbours.

  19. Spiders, not being published, heights, and losing the internet in the event of a zombie apocalypse and not having you guys to read over my morning coffee, not to mention not having my morning coffee.

  20. Arch conservatives and convict archers. I hate election time and the future is conflicted with hope and fear, the uncertainty darkening early autumn.

  21. I’m tough. I can face life’s shit. But mess with my near & dear, make them suffer… Who knows what fear-driven, homicidal maniac that scenario would unleash.

    I’m also afraid of total financial ruin. Hence, an obscene frugality.

    On that cheery note, have a nice day everyone.

  22. HEY EVERYBODY. I know I’m shouting.
    Back up the truck to ThreeKingsBooks.
    That’s right go back up the line to 10:41 yesterday.

  23. I fear falling–or jumping–off the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a completely illogical fear, as I’ve never been west of Iowa, and with my fear of heights there’s no one alive who could get me onto the Golden Gate Bridge. I have a similar fear of falling over NIagara Falls. I’ve been there twice, and so far so good.

  24. Lordy, it took me 45 minutes to get here to tell you all what I’m afraid since I was so wrapped up in what everyone was saying and making comments.

    I can’t believe no one said heights, unless I missed it somehow…! Such a cliche, but it’s true, and I can’t even stand to see someone else near the edge of something taller than 6 feet up – that gives me the willies like I’m the one standing there. (You should see me trying to decorate our Christmas tree if I have to use a step ladder – it takes a loooong time)

    And the quick list:
    Not being published
    Having a relapse of Guillian Barre syndrome that doesn’t come out as well as it did the first time
    Not being published
    Spiders
    Not being published
    Going blind
    Not being published
    And like many others, crammed between the 18 wheeler and a cement barricade
    Okay, one more time – not being published!

    • Shoot! And one more that I can’t believe I forgot…fish in the water. There’s something about fish in the water – freaks me out. Or, the illusion of fish in the water (i.e. logs, sticks, stumps, rocks – freak out time)

    • Being published doesn’t make a person happier, just more neurotic.

      • Getting published made me happy until a person who disagreed with what I wrote called me on the phone and told me he knew where I lived. I didn’t stop writing but I unlisted my number. That was years ago, the paranoia has passed, sort of.

  25. Flying, or more specifically, crashing. That any of a gazillion horrible things will happen to my kids, especially now that I can’t watch over them. That I’ll never know when this book is truly done. That this book never truly will be done. That one day I will show up here, and Betsy will have hung a sign that says, “Closed for business.”

  26. When my husband and I first moved in together, I found a momento from a previous relationship. I thought about stuffing it in a box in the back of the closet, but acted against all my insecurities and hung it on the wall over our kitchen table. I figured I would take away its ability to flood him with memories of another woman every time he accidently came upon it. Sure enough, he threw it out on our next move. I kind of go at all my fears that way.

  27. More afraid of being bored to death (and I’m not alluding to the TV show) than of anything else.

  28. I have all those fears, Betsy, and quite a few more. Also, right now, a fear that I’m going to f**k up a break I’ve had….Trying not to choke.

  29. The big misters.

  30. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley I agree.

    I also fear that I’ll show up and Betsy will have closed and locked her door. That indeed is even scarier than sitting with pockets full of spiders, on a plane full of snakes, in the middle seat between Romney and Ryan.

  31. Thank God I’m not the only one. My most recent is a near-constant phobia of contracting Dengue Fever. Of which my chances are less than 1%, apparently.

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