Sunday, 22 November 2015

Scared?

With fear a topic of conversation around the world, it seems timely to revisit this post I originally wrote in 2008. At the time, I was the Chief Purser on a cruise ship sailing the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Scared

"But aren't you scared?"

It was the second time today that someone had asked me that question. The first time was early afternoon when I was on the pier in Manzanillo, a port substituted for Acapulco this week due to technical problems. I was on my way in to town, and seeing a long line of people waiting for the shuttle bus, and a complete lack of taxis, I elected to exit the port gates and take the local bus, something I have no hesitation in doing anywhere. I saw a couple of other crew on the pier, who asked me, since I had been here before, what are the options for getting in to town. I listed their choices. A long wait for a shuttle bus. A long wait for a taxi. Or walk out to the street with me, spend 4 pesos, and take the public bus. They looked at me incredulously.
"The public bus? But aren't you scared?"
"Scared of what?" I inquired.
"Well... of how they drive... and the people...?"
I left them to their long wait for a shuttle or a taxi and headed into town. Miraculously unscathed from the 'dangerous' journey, I found a festival taking place on the edge of town, at the town beach, and after taking a walk around the town center, returned to the festival where I made some new friends and enjoyed several hours of music, beer and fun. In the meantime, it got dark.
Feeling in need of some exercise I decided to walk back to the ship; a walk I had done before in the daylight, and which I knew from experience would take about an hour. I headed out along the dimly lit and almost deserted road. Just over an hour later, I was entering the gates of the port. As I neared the ship, a taxi pulled up, and a friend of mine emerged.
"How did you get back?" she demanded. I replied to the effect that I had walked. For the second time today I saw that incredulous look.
"But weren't you scared?"
"Scared of what?" I inquired, also for the second time.
"Well, of the road, and the traffic, and of being attacked... and..." - she hesitated - "...you know.... other things?"
It got me thinking. Why are they really scared? How much of their lives is spent being consumed by fear? How many experiences do they miss because of it? Maybe I am lucky. But getting on a bus has never scared me. Walking down a road at night has never scared me. And I have definitely never missed out on something because I was scared. 
There really is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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