As long as I can remember, I have had a fear of heights. Even looking out the window of a tall building filled me with dread and I could never stand mountaintops, despite the fact that the ground was solid beneath my feet. For years, this fear had no real basis (beyond the obvious fact that falling can be hazardous to one’s health). However, back in 2009 my fear finally had a personal and solid basis: I fell from my roof, tearing my quadriceps tendon. This resulted in a long adventure of recovery and reinforced by desire to avoid heights.
A month or so ago, I noticed that my roof was well covered in leaves and I had also decided that covering my skylights with solar screens would help with my energy bill. Dealing with these things required, obviously enough, getting on the roof. I set up the ladder and got everything together (so as to minimize my trips up and down the ladder). When I first tried to go up the ladder, I paused for a second as my tendon twitched in recollection of what had happened before. Or so it seemed-it might have merely been a trick of the mind. Once I was on the roof, I was mostly fine. Getting back down (which is how I had fallen before) was something of a challenge. I looked at the ground, then the ladder, then went down cautiously. I noticed that I had stopped breathing when I reached the ground. I had, however, gotten back on that horse…or rather, roof.
Interestingly enough, although I always dread flying once I am in the air I am fine. I even try to get window seats and look out during take offs and landings. This probably ties into my masochistic tendencies developed from running and being a graduate student. I suspect that I am also not as worried because flying still feels somewhat unreal to me. Or, perhaps, it is that odd emotional disconnection I always feel when I am in a vehicle: I know I am “there”, but it feels like I am somehow just observing rather than being truly present. Or maybe I’m just a bit crazy.