I was reminded this morning of a little quirk I had that drove my dad crazy. From as early as I can remember, I have refused to step on sidewalk grates, sewer covers, trap doors... any access to the "underworld." As a child I was convinced they would collapse under my enormous weight. As a teenager, I was sure there was a creep below, hoping for a furtive glance up my skirt. As an adult, I understand the hazard of heals and manhole covers, of subway grates and skirts and I've taken care to avoid them.
I have an image in my head of me, maybe 2 or 3 years old, refusing to walk on a sidewalk grate with my father. We were heading in to a Chinese restaurant (another issue in there, but that's for another day) and mom and my brothers were already inside but I couldn't get in because there was a grate between me and the door.
I was terrified and I'd like to say my father was patient and comforting, but that wasn't him - I found myself picked up and no, not carried inside, but rather placed smack in the middle of the grate. My legs wouldn't reach to step off, and I couldn't bring myself to walk across to safety. I stood frozen and got a swat on the bottom to "cure" me. Yeah, notsomuch. What I learned was not to be brave, but rather to be a little less obvious with my fear.
So this morning I found myself refilling my coffee at the coffee bar in 3 Squares and realized I was standing on the trapdoor to the basement. Did I scream? No, but I'll admit I had a small moment of trepidation. So I stepped off and reached a little awkwardly for the cream. I'm almost "cured." Only took 45 years.