Suburban Northern Virginians' 46 Worst Fears

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Yesterday, a New York City man accidentally dropped his keys through a sidewalk subway grate, then fell to the bottom of the shaft when he tried to retrieve them, thus experiencing in short order at least two common fears of city life. In response, The Awl and Gothamist compiled lists of every New Yorker’s worst fears; both are funny and horrifying and good.

I wanted to get in on this action, but I don’t live in New York City. I am a Suburban Northern Virginian; when I go to New York City to visit, my principal fear is that I will miss the bus back home and spend the rest of my life living in an orange crate, because the city is large and disorienting. Here is an unranked list of the rest of Suburban Northern Virginians’ worst fears:

* Wegmans only has small bags of clementines today.

* Forget to leave a check out for the lawnmower guy.

* Waved at by neighbors while driving past.

* Discover your basement has been the home of a gang of wandering hobos for the past year.


* Small child asks for help peeling clementine.

* Someone asks, “What is our actual work product?” aloud during meeting.

* Door knocked on by canvasser.

* Permanently estranged from family by routine Orange/Silver Line maintenance.

* Accidentally leave your garage door open overnight; neighbors see how messy it is in there.


* Reach into mailbox, find a spider.

* Clementines’ peels don’t come off easily.

* Bitchin’ fire pit inexplicably becomes uncool.

* Stinkbug flies into mouth.

* Stuffed-animal hospital never sends kid’s bear back.

* Restoration Hardware found to be front for Aryan Nation.

* Lyme Disease.

* New executive single-family home development ruins patch of woodland you like driving past.


* Kid stashes unwanted ham sandwich under child safety seat in minivan for three summer months.

* Hip New York blogger disparages shorts/sandals.

* Door knocked on by neighbor.

* Gluten.

* Invited to coworker’s kid’s Christmas pageant at the creepy megachurch.

* Overheard singing along to Kate Bush in your minivan.

* Climb onto chair to record kid’s kindergarten graduation ceremony; chair collapses; spine powderized in fall.


* Aggro llama darkens trip to petting zoo.

* Accidentally leave bedroom window cracked; broadcast sex noises to entire dead-silent cul de sac.


* TBS evening rerun schedule monkeyed with.

* Invited to play golf.

* Raccoon invades ceiling, chews through electrical wire, gets electrocuted to death, rots inside walls.


* Driveway snowed on.

* Clementines found to have seeds.

* Learn literally everyone else in your neighborhood is Mormon; wonder if it means you are, too.


* Small bird flies in through open door, instantaneously becomes most frightening thing on Earth.

* Realize it’s been three weeks since anyone in any photo on your Facebook feed wasn’t wearing a visor.


* Absently bring a blackberry almost all the way to your mouth before discovering it is a giant Japanese beetle.

* Neighbors go eight days without mowing lawn.

* Kid befriends child of the jittery, intense, scary mom who’s always wearing workout clothes.


* Trapped inside home by hostile blue jays.

* Wegmans only has non-organic seedless cucumbers today.

* Light-blue minivan dented, rendered visible to police.

* Accidentally post your charity 10K photos to your entire Facebook friends list, thereby exposing images of your face to 200 people with whom you actively chose to associate on a social-media website, instead of the 11 of them you actually don’t despise.


* Nuclear war.

* Neighbors put weird political sign in yard.

* Long line at Potbelly; shorter line at the other Potbelly, the one you saw the neighbor at one time.


* Hit by a car.

* Engaged in a friendly manner by anyone.

Illustration by Sam Woolley

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