DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl and I have always had a fear of heights. But my mother and sister love thrill rides. As a result, we often go to theme parks. When we do, I'll usually go on a couple of the "kiddie rides," which is what Mom calls "mild" rides. Mom and my sister try to drag me on the roller coasters, but I always say no.
After I refuse a few times, Mom will finally snap. The last time it happened she said: "You know what? I'm not paying for your ticket if you're going to wimp out and not go on any rides."
I have been driven to tears more than once. She won't stop even if my friends are with us. I wish I could stay home when they go, but then my mom accuses me of being "antisocial."
Please tell me what I can do or say to her to make her stop doing this. -- TIRED TEEN IN COLTON, N.Y.
DEAR TIRED TEEN: Your mother may think that your refusal to go on the roller coaster (etc.) is a bid for attention, but she is wrong. She isn't taking into consideration how severe a fear of heights can be -- some people require professional intervention to overcome it, and it costs a heck of a lot more than a ticket to a theme park. Because you can't seem to get through to her, appeal to one of her friends or a close relative to help you get the message across. Believe me, you have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: In December, right before Christmas, my daughter and I went shopping. We visited several stores in a strip mall in the small town where we live. After returning to my vehicle, I left the wheelchair I use for long distances at the back for my daughter to load.
We were getting ready to leave town. I hurried home, wrapped the gifts I had bought, then rushed out again to deliver them in the next town. When we reached our next stop, I realized I had left my wallet in the pocket of my wheelchair. When I asked my daughter to retrieve it, she looked at me and said, "You took the wheelchair out?" That was when we realized she had forgotten to load it.
I started calling the stores to ask if anyone had turned in a wallet and wheelchair. The answer was no. When I decided to call the sheriff's department and ask if anyone had turned the items in, the dispatcher began asking me all kinds of questions about my whereabouts and safety. Abby, they thought I had been kidnapped! I felt terrible for upsetting everyone.
I would like to thank the good Samaritan who turned in my wheelchair and my wallet, intact, with nothing missing. The items in it could have been replaced, but there is no way I could have replaced the wheelchair because it was expensive.
I would also like to thank the sheriff's department, which had a deputy at the door before I was off the phone with the dispatcher, for their quick response. -- GINGER IN LIVE OAK, FLA.
DEAR GINGER: I'm pleased to publish your testimonial to the fact that there are honest, caring people in this world. Of course, it's no surprise, but we seem to hear an awful lot more about sociopaths and psychopaths than we do the good people who make up the vast majority. And hats off to your sheriff's department, who handled the situation with proficiency, humanity and professionalism.
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