Aside from escalators, I am also incredibly afraid of worms. I am afraid of worms even more so that I am afraid of escalators.
When confronted by an escalator, I panic, but I panic on the inside. When confronted by a worm, I scream on the outside.
I am more afraid of worms than I am afraid of snakes. (But note that I have only been confronted with garter snakes, not cobras or vipers or anything. So to clarify, I am more afraid of worms than I am afraid of garter snakes.)
If a worm stays still (otherwise known as dead), I am perfectly fine. I will calmly walk around the worm (giving it a wide berth, of course. Four feet tends to work well for me). The thing that is most frightening about worms is the way they move. I don’t know why. It just is.
When I was little, my mother had to iron all my socks flat, because if there was a wrinkle in my sock, I was convinced that there was a worm in my shoe.
Once, when I was in kindergarten, we went on a field trip. It is not important where we went, the only thing that you, dear nonexistent reader, need to know is that it was raining. And that worms prefer to come out of their underground homes when it is raining, not when it is hot and dry and sunny.
So we were walking from the bus to the school. Oh, about twenty, maybe thirty, yards of sidewalk. A wet sidewalk. A wet sidewalk riddled with worms.
I stepped from the bus onto the sidewalk, puddles splashing a bit, my tennis shoes soaked through. The path that led back to the dry safety of my school lay before me, infinitely long. I began the trek, following the children in front of me. I stepped delicately around the wriggling worms, stifling my screams.
Every time I gingerly took a step forward, the sidewalk grew tenfold.
But I was succeeding. My progress was slow, but I was overcoming the dangerous worms in front of me. I relaxed as much as I could under the circumstances.
Until the King of Worms appeared.
It was lying across the entire width of the sidewalk, as thick as a sturdy rope, its body rippling slightly as it inched forward.
I stood stock-still and a bloodcurdling scream pierced the air. It took me a moment to realize that the scream was coming from me.
One of the volunteers for the field trip had to carry me the rest of the way. I screamed the entire time.