1. What simple things scare you? Why?
Getting up on a ladder, or negotiating an open staircase outdoors, or going across a tall bridge. I have a terrible fear of falling. If I'm going to be up high, it had better be on something sturdy. And by sturdy, I mean something like the top of a mountain. I had a hard time walking out to the half way point of the Golden Gate bridge to take pictures the one time I was in San Francisco. What made it worse was that when I got back to the parking lot, I discovered that there was no film in the camera, and I had to go back.
Walking outside alone at night spooks me sometimes.
I have a hard time phoning people I don't know. I have a hard time meeting new people if I'm not introduced by someone I do know. I could never go on a blind date. Asking someone I know out is difficult enough.
2. Do you have any phobias? If so, what?
Falling, which is the basis for a lot of subsidiary fears, like heights, flying, going over large bridges, elevators, glass-enclosed elevators. I'm much better about the subsidiary fears now than I used to be, because over the years I've managed not to run away from those situations. Fortunately, I don't panic easily, and if I do feel it coming on, I can find ways to divert it. The only part of flying that bothers me anymore is turbulence.
The odd thing is that I developed all theses fears as an adult. As a child, we flew to my grandparents' home in Chicago several times, and my father had a private pilot's license, so I even flew in a Cessna with him when I was a teenager. I used to clamber over roofs, and build tree houses. My dad took us up to the top of the Empire State Building, and I remember loving it. No way would I do it again.
3. What is your earliest memory of being afraid? How do the same things scare you now?
I'm pretty sure there were monsters in my closet growing up. Closets don't scare me anymore, although I do often wonder if there might not be a ghost in my attic.
4. What is the scariest movie you've ever seen? Why? Is it still scary to you now? Why or why not?
The original Invaders from Mars scared the bejesus out of me when I was a boy. I slept on my back for a year because I figured that would prevent the Martians from sticking something in the back of my neck to turn me into their mind slave, and I stayed the hell away from sand pits.
The one thing that has scared me more than anything as an adult, wasn't a film, but rather the "Hush" episode of Buffy. That one gave me nightmares.
5. What is the scariest nightmare you've ever had? What happened? Is it still scary to you? Why or why not?
A lot of my nightmares involve me fighting or running from some kind of monster, demon, or invading army, and invariably whatever weapon I have doesn't seem to work. I shoot the gun, bullets come out and hit the bad guy, but they have no effect. But they all sort of blend together.
The one that stands out so much that I still remember it vividly twenty-some odd years later is a dream I had where I was in a car with my wife, and we stopped at a drive-through fast food place to get something to eat. There was a man standing in the parking lot raving and waving around a shotgun. He walked up to the window of the car, pointed the gun at me, and fired, hitting me point blank in the face. That's when I woke up.