When you tell someone you are afraid of something, for some strange reason they expect you to be rational about it.
Example? I am afraid of wasps, bees and ants. Ants because I walked into a floating fire ant next as a kid and still have nightmares about it. This is the only one that is rational, because I can explain it. It is the only one that people understand. They see me freaking out about a little sugar ant and say "What the hell is wrong with you?" and I say, "I walked into a floating fire ant nest when I was four", and they usually hand me whatever it was the sugar ant was going for. Hopefully, it was chocolate.
But the fear of ants is nothing compared to my fear of the other two. Bees and wasps are pain with wings. They are divinely engineered to thoroughly fuck up your day. Bees are at least rational about it, unless you're talking Africanized, in which case they have schizophrenia and think you're out to get them and you just indicated it by sneezing. But wasps. Dear. Bleeding. God. Wasps. They have only one purpose, as far as I can see, and it is to make more wasps. And it's not like they can hurt you just once. Oh, god no. They've got a venom tattoo gun for an ass.
I have never been stung by a wasp. I do not know why I view them as the insect version of Ted Bundy. All I know is, I see one on my porch, I leave the porch. One comes in the house? I go find little brother and beg for him to go kill it. I can kill it myself only if it is perfect stationary, on a flat surface and begging to die. Because if it is not a suicidal volunteer, it might go airborne again. And then it might fly into my hair and sting me (my one bee sting happened this way) and ... there would be pain. It would probably be manageable pain, but that's what I mean by irrational phobia. It doesn't matter. There is a great unknown after "sting" that I never want to experience, and the only way to ensure this never happens is to run whenever I see a flying tattoo ass gun of pain coming near.
I discovered a wasp flying in the middle of my porch when I had groceries. This is like discovering a suicide bomber in the library. I had armloads of groceries and a bike, I was tired, I was heat exhausted, and there was a wasp. I stood there frozen while it flew a bare inch off the wood. It landed, I started walking, and then it started flying again. Right. At. My. Feet.
I screamed. Not a little subtle scream either. No sir. I dropped my bike and one bag of groceries (the other was in my backpack) and ran for the porch, waiting for the burning pain and, I assume, instant agonizing death of getting wasp stung. I was practically cowering beside the door, whimpering, waiting for this pissed off aggressive missile of death to begin tattooing a skull and crossbones onto my backside.
It flew away.
I stared after it. Was...was it gone? really? I looked for it for several minutes, not quite trusting my eyes, but it didn't come back. I collected my groceries, dove into the house, slammed the door and contented myself with a milk tea while I processed what I just discovered.
You can walk over wasps and not have them sting you.
This, I am sure, is something the rest of the world knows rather well. Leave it alone, and it will leave you alone. But the thought of coming near the flying tattoo gun of death sends me into cold sweats. Only necessity and stupidity drove me to actually stand above the evil red paper wasp, and only those two things can drive me to do so again! ... but next time I will not be quite so afraid, because I know I will not necessarily die if I come within three feet of a red wasp. The Wasp has lost a few grains of power over me, and perhaps the next time we encounter each other, I will be...