My grandad lived with our family for the majority of my life. It was awesome. He was a gorgeous little Irish man with a big heart. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago from diabetes, and he is sorely missed. He was a wonderful grandad.
When we were in primary and my mum went back to work, my brother and I would come home from school and hang out with grandad for a while. My dad is a builder so no matter where we lived, he would always create a house that accommodated grandad so he could have his own space when he wanted it. Whether it was a downstairs apartment with a kitchen, TV room, bathroom and 2 bedrooms, or a whole floor to himself. It was such a great set up and worked really well for everyone.
My brother and I would spend a fair bit of time hanging out with grandad and sometimes we would watch movies together or he would cook us yummy things. One time I remember visiting him and he was already watching the James Bond movie ‘Thunderball‘. I walked into his lounge room just as two men were pushed into a beautiful pool, and an evil man opened a secret door and some sharks swam into the pool and ate the two men. Then, of course, James Bond ended up in the pool….but he managed to escape! Wow, the image of the shark door opening and sharks swimming into a backyard pool stuck with me for a quite a while. I am a very visual person and I have to be careful what movies I expose my brain too. If I am not careful, I can be taunted by a ridiculous movie for years. So I developed a fear of swimming in any kind of pool alone. I would be okay if someone else was swimming in the pool with me, but as soon as they left I would freak out and just hang out on the pool steps, being careful to not let my legs dangle over the sides into the deep bit. CHOMP!
I have taught myself to get over this pool-shark fear (I know it was completely ridiculous), although I can STILL get a little nervous if I am in an Olympic sized pool by my lonesome self.
Another layer of my shark phobia was formed when I used to do nippers (lifesaving for kids). I was in Year 5 (nine years old) when we went on an overnight camp to Camden Haven and stayed with a heap of other kids in the Surf Lifesaving Club. The movie the adult leaders decided to show us all as we tucked into our sleeping bags for the night was ‘Jaws‘. The one where the lady is swimming at night in the beginning of the movie and she holds onto a buoy and gets eaten alive. Yeah, that one. The next day we had our camp competition where we had to swim out a fair distance around a buoy and back again. I was physically sick with fear and ended up having to go home. From never having a problem swimming out in the ocean deep, to being frozen with fear if I couldn’t touch the sand. Mum said after that nippers camp I was very reluctant to go to any carnivals, and if they did manage to get me in the water I would lead on the way out to the buoy…but keep stopping until others caught up, then swim, then wait, then go around the buoy and absolutely smash my swim back to shore in an instant. My fear made me quite successful at nippers :)
I will swim in the ocean now, and in a pool, but I have not gotten over my fear of sharks. A picture of them sends shivers down my spine. I spotted an article recently which was about a man trying to prove that sharks are not as dangerous as we think. He went paddleboarding out to greet a great white shark to demonstrate this.
Insane! Unfortunately, his bravery (?) didn’t do what he intended…for me at least. I am still fearful of the freaky things.