I Have This Crazy I-Might-Drop-Car-Keys-Down-to-Sewers Fear

Not sure if I have mentioned this (and definitely not sure if I should), but here we go (again).

I have this weird “I might drop my car keys to sewers” fear. Whenever I go get some gasoline to our car, I look for those sewer things (plug holes?) that might be located near the gas pump. If I see a one, I immediately start to think how my car keys could accidentally drop… way down to the sewers. Where they would never be found again.

What this has to do with anything? Especially about game development?

I’m making a point here that even “rational game developers” like me (and even those genius C++ experts who know loads of 3 letter acronyms) have some weird ideas and thoughts stuffed in their brain.

I know that this fear is (somewhat) irrational. I hold my car keys tight enough or keep them in my pocket, so the chances for the keys to drop are close to me same as the odds for me winning in a lottery (and I don’t even play lottery).

I’m a pretty rational guy. I make all sort of calculations. I liked math, physics (but also arts) in school. I try to make “rational decisions” and think “will buying this shit make my game sell more copies – or help me get it done faster” before I do something. I keep my papers pretty organized, and desktop in ok shape. Overall I keep thinking that I’m sort of a rational guy.

Yet… with all said and done.

I keep fearing that one day I’ll drop my car keys to sewers. (At least it’s not as weird as one famous Finnish astronomy-professor-guy has: he is afraid of dark)

What weird fears your have?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I posted the same fear on Facebook this past weekend. An FB Friend told me to seek professional help. I walk a lot. In passing sewer grates I always clutch my keys tighter. Didn’t find this post till now. Does this phobia have an official name. Regardless, good to know I’m not alone.

  2. Exactly what happened to me today, but not at a gas station but in a manhole near my place. Fortunately my mom had a duplicate key but it’s gonna cost me quite a lot to make a new one for myself.

    I guess I have faced your fear now… I can tell you, it’s not pleasant, not pleasant at all.

    Here’s what the manhole looked like: http://www.hippyshopper.com/manhole%20planter-thumb-410×318.jpg

  3. just take your key throw it into the sewer deliberately and you won’t ever have this problem again :-)

  4. Baloo: yeh. The guy said in an interview that sometimes he’s really afraid when he goes watch stars via telescope… alone in dark building… no lights. Heh.

    I also have irrational fear about going to see a specialist… try cure that! (just joking:)

  5. Fear of the dark? Now that’s a bad phobia for an astronomer… :)

    By the way. Most irrational fears can be cured nowadays. So if it really is bothering you, go find a specialist.

  6. Oh Scurvy Lobster, your parents could have just lifted the grating :(

  7. Roman: noted. Will do. Now… as for elevators: I’ll stop using them. No more fear for me either!

    Andy: talk about cell phones…

    Scurvy: scary…. just scary…

  8. Its not just keys for me… if i need to take my wallet out my pocket, i have a fear that it will open and things will drop… my advice is to stand clear of holes while you get something out your pocket.

  9. Juuso, buy Renault with hands free system. I bought Grand Scenic and I keep my key all time in the back pocket (closed). Thanks to the hands free system the doors open when you are close to the car and you start engine by pressing start button instead of turning a key. So no more this kind of fears for me :D

  10. Hamish: I can stand odd numbers in volume control… (and 9.99 game prices ;)) but I hate have two remote controllers to match the sound (one that makes big leaps, the other doing smaller leaps).

    Katherine: thanks. now you made me fear lift shaft gaps.


    Jake: hmm, vid camera owners too should be afraid!

  11. lol, I’ve thought the same thing too but I normally get rid of it.

    Here’s another classic, have you ever leaner over the edge of a wall on a really high building to take a photo and been paranoid about dropping your camera and seeing it fall for miles before smashing into a million pieces? It’s even worse with iPhone because it’s so slippy.

  12. I LOVE the feeling of frosted glass! And yes I have a huge fear of gaps.

    Some clarification (hope it helps) as I work with drains. It won’t be a sewer if the lid is in the forecourt of a gas station; it’s more likely to be the lid to the gas tanks (which should be sealed pretty well to keep the gas in and gas thieves out). You mentioned “sewer things – plug holes?”; we call them manholes here but different countries might call them different things. Gratings lead to stormwater drains, usually via a catchpit which would have a pit in the bottom to catch leaves, stones etc which would catch your keys so if you could lift the grating you would be able to get your keys back.

    Not that any rational explanation would help irrational fears, but at least you know if you drop your keys you can easily get them back from the sewer, not like lift shafts (I am creeped out by lift shaft gaps).

  13. Hahah! Love this thread.. Although I don’t have a fear of gaps I do know what you mean. I can’t stand having the volume on the TV or Radio on odd numbers (unless it’s a multiple of 5… that’s ok)

    I also get really ooked out by the feeling of frosted glass.

    Is it just me?

  14. I’ve got this new one where I fear I might drop them in the gap left by an open elevator door. I feel ya.

  15. Funny, I have the same fear as you and every time I come close from a sewer grid, if I have something in my hand, I close my hand harder.



  16. Use some kind of string for your keys, if you rationally think there is any danger of losing keys.
    However, gas pumps should be DESIGNED in a way, so that it doesn’t happen. Because, of course, it must be happening sometimes. If you are interested in this, I’d recommend a book: The Design of Everyday Things – http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/dp/0465067107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254729746&sr=1-1 .

    I’d even send it to you (I read it and not need it anymore), if you send your address to my email. :)

    As for irrational fears – the only rule is to distract yourself towards something else. It works for phobia of heights, social phobia, fear of diseases (ehm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cutaneous_conditions ).

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