Today I saw a headline on xoJane.com that made me gasp with surprise and delight. Unfortunately it wasn’t anything as great as “RYAN GOSLING IS SINGLE AND LOOKING FOR A CUTE AUSTINITE INTERESTED IN EMBROIDERY.” But it was close. Writer Marianne submitted a piece entitled “I Have A Balloon Phobia.” Oh, girl. You wonderful kindred spirit, you. I have the same phobia! After years of thinking my terror of the decor at children’s birthday parties was absurd, I have finally found a writer (and commenters) with the same fear as I. That’s right, folks: balloons scare me.

I really can’t sum up my phobia any better than Marianne did in her post. While I can run up and pop a balloon, the not knowing when (or if) it will explode makes me so very anxious:

Balloons make me feel like there is some impending terrible thing about to happen — they threaten to explode merely by existing. I am not good with sudden loud noises, so balloons were never going to be my favorite thing.

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I couldn’t handle watching fireworks until the age of ten (and I still hate them to this day). But balloons are worse. The slightest brush with the wrong surface could cause an unexpected burst. They’re cheery-looking time bombs, ticking away to startling me at the wrong moment.

Naturally, my friends usually think my fear is hilarious. I once made the mistake of telling some coworkers about it, and they preceded to hide balloons around the store for me to find. (The one in my purse was a clever move, but I almost left work early because it made me so angry. Especially when it popped in my face.)

Daytime talk shows usually have segments about strange phobias, and while I find some of them interesting and unexpected, I never think those afflicted with them are freaks. We all have our quirks. Some just come in the form of colorful latex.

Do you have any phobias?