Home > Anxiety, Bitching, Japan, Neurosis, Scary, Silliness, Strange, Stupidity, Weird, Worry > The Time I Worried About Disasters

The Time I Worried About Disasters

It has been a persistent fear of mine for many years now that a natural disaster will strike, and I will be naked for it.

Maybe not even a natural disaster. Maybe a terrorist attack or a fire eventually traced to arson. Whatever the situation, my recurring nightmare is that something unspeakably terrible will happen, and I will be naked while dealing with it.

I have no idea why this should terrify me so much. Perhaps it’s just adding insult to injury, that I’d crawl out of a burning building or swim out of a flood, then still have to deal with the indignity of being nude and vulnerable. Or that I’d drag myself out of a building ravaged by an earthquake, then spend my first dazed moments searching for a blanket or something. In these bizarre imaginings, I never just suck it up and deal with self-preservation first and foremost. I don’t spend my time saving others crushed by buildings, or seeking precious fresh water. No, for some reason in these scenarios I see myself simply wandering around, sadly looking for clothes to steal.

I’d like to think I wouldn’t act so stupid in an actual life-or-death situation. But there was the one time it almost came true.

I was living in Japan in the Fall of 2004, staying with my host family in Kyoto on a semester long study abroad program. I was busy showering in my host family’s expansive bathroom, and was cold, covered in soap suds, and most assuredly naked. At that moment, an earthquake struck that was stronger than any I had felt so far. The rumblings were strong enough to knock me to the floor in my sudsy state, and there I lay, terrified and thinking only, “My fear has finally come to pass.” I imagined myself having to wander the streets of Japan nude, my pale foreign skin still wet from my shower as fires burned around me from ruptured gas lines.

Of course, the earthquake was considered mild by Japan standards, and the only thing damaged in our building was the elevator. I finished my shower and dressed quickly, still prepared for a sudden evacuation that never came. But I still remember my terror.

I don’t know what is with me and nudity, but I seriously need to get a grip.

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  1. October 2, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I suppose it’s the same kind of fear that makes mothers always insist on making sure that the kids have clean underwear on. When I was first married, I was obsessive about wearing pajamas to bed because same as you I was convinced that a disaster would strike over night and I would be jumping naked out of the bedroom window,,,but then it occured to me who would rescue me. Firemen, that’s who..so would it really be so bad to be caught naked with firemen? lol 🙂

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