Bananas and other phobias


Dear Inquisitive Stranger,


It’s the first unusual banana sighting of the week and my instinct is to send a photo to my friend. Before getting carried away with the pap shots, I realise the receipt of an image of this banana-shaped hazard sign would not carry the same health and safety benefits for my bananaphobic buddy.

While chums and I engage in a gentle mocking of this inconvenient food phobia, for my dear friend, the struggle is real. Fruit bowls and the first aisle of Tesco have the potential to ruin a day to the same cataclysmic scale as Darth Vader discovering his son was rebel scum.


She is not alone. The banana menace strikes fear into the hearts of both humans and animals alike. The internet is littered with cats being taunted by fruit and vegetables. Nine lives are a necessity when you can’t stroll around a corner without a banana or cucumber scaring the lights out of your day.


While felines made it to the front of the supplementary lives line, humans will live with just the one life until Super Mario 1-Up Mushrooms become available on the market.


For my friend and many like her, this means constant vigilance in the event of an impromptu banana appearance, lest it cause one’s Gimlet to spill as they leap from the chaise longue.


Were a pair of courting ‘nanas to unexpectedly take a box at La bohème, that will be her reputation at the Opera House shot to pieces.


(N.B. never date a banana. Anyone that has tried to transport this fruit intact can attest to their high-maintenance character.)

When bananas attack, the rest of us pass the popcorn and enjoy the show, however, we could practice a little more charitability. Let’s face it, each of us harbours a bit of a scaredy cat. Wherever walks a human, walks some idiosyncratic anxiety. While some heeby jeebies manifest as full-blown, life-disrupting phobias, others are more manageable and can be rationalised. There are some zany phobias that are fun to say but not live with, like mortuusequusphobia, an aversion to ketchup. Who knew?!


I am blighted by the wonderfully wordy, submechanophobia, the fear of submerged man-made objects. Having chosen a profession that doesn’t involve boat rudders or diving equipment, this anxiety only interferes with seaside activities therefore is wholly manageable. What keeps me awake at night is fretting that cartoon bunny from ‘Watership Down’ lurks beneath the bed. Before you commence mocking, I dare you to search for images of General Woundwort. Sleep well tonight, my pretty.


As a component of our basic human emotions, fear is invited to the party for good reason. It is the survival mechanism that motivates action to keep us out of sticky situations. For thousands of years, the jitters have prevented us from getting gobbled up by Sabre-Tooth Tigers, pissing off God (theophobia) or being parted from one’s mobile phone (nomophobia).


While some us us are avoiding chins (geniophobia) or having our mothers cut off buttons from our cardigans (koumpounophobia), others are requesting the chef remove all trace of coriander from their coriander pesto. While not a phobia, coriander, or cilantro if you grew up on the other side of the pond, serves a wallop of soap-tasting repulsion. Scientists explain that genes can be blamed by the 14% of the population who find the herb tastes like it should be washing the dish it is served on.

Coriander-free zone (a pleaser for 14% of you)

So my lovely Stranger, like me, I expect you have an angst of some description, be it moderate or life-interrupting and worthy of an unpronounceable name. Let’s all take a long, peaceful breathe and chose to not let fear interfere with our day.

Soap/coriander for sale

In the meantime, I shall desist from fiddling on my phone for my friend’s digits. May she have a banana-free day ahead of her.

Peace, love and cha cha cha.

Don’t behave!


Share D’Table – Share d’love

315-55 Seongsu-dong 2-ga

Seongsu station, line 2, exit 4

Monday – Sunday 09:00 – 23:00


Hello there. I posted this letter in ‘Share D’Table’ for a stranger to discover.

Maybe you are that person! It would be fabulous to connect with you. Do you have any phobias or fruit horror stories?

You may not have found the letter released into the wild, but discovered this blog documenting the journey of letters hidden across Seoul city. Do get in touch and let me know how your phobia-free day went.

Light and love,


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