Friday, January 30, 2009

Claustrophobia

I had a situation last week that reminded me of a fear I have not experienced in a long time.

The recent incident:


As I was leaving work, I found that my key to lock the outside office door wasn't working. My work is connected to a storage room, and that room is connected to the UPS store. I figured I would just lock my office door from the inside, pass through the storage room, and leave via the UPS store. I stuck my head outside my office door and saw the UPS store light was still on, so I felt confident I could get in and out of it.

I locked my outside office door from the inside, locked the door leading from my office door to the storage room from my office's side, and proceeded into the storage room. Now I was locked out of my office. I went to the door leading from the storage room to the UPS store. I found that it was locked from the other side. "No matter," I thought. "The light was on, so they are still in there."

I knocked on the door. No answer. I knocked again. Still no answer. I got down on my knees and looked under the door. The lights were off. They must have left the store and locked it down just as I was entering the storage room.

I now found myself in a quandary. I was locked out of my office. I was locked out of the UPS store. Therefore, I was locked IN the storage room. The first thought that entered my mind was, "I wonder if I can stack some of these cardboard boxes on each other and make a comfortable bed." My second thought was, "I wonder if they will miss me at FHE, or if any of my roommates will notice that I don't come home tonight. I wonder if they would think to look for me here. I wonder if they even know where I work." I realized they probably wouldn't even notice if I didn't come home (I live in the basement alone, and tend to come home late). My third thought was, "I hope the dude that delivers boxes here in the morning isn't a kidnapper."

My fourth and best thought was, "I have a cell phone." I called my roommate Rebecca and told her, "I am locked in a storage room." She didn't seem to know what to do. So I said, "Don't worry about it, I'll figure something out." After searching around, I finally found a back exit into a scary alleyway. The door had been blocked by a bunch of refrigerator boxes. I was free!

Incident #2

It was my sophomore year at BYU. One of my roommates was trying to figure out how much 50 pounds was because she was about to fly home on an airplane. She had one suitcase packed full of stuff to take home, but none of us had a scale, so she wanted to find something that weighed 50 pounds so she could could put it in an empty suitcase and compare. After suggesting a number of items, my other roommates had a brilliant idea. "Sarah weighs 50 pounds!" one of them chimed up. "Yeah! Put HER in the suitcase!" another suggested.

It was too late to run. They had all laid hands on me and proceeded to stuff me in the empty suitcase. They zipped it up. So there I was, in a fetal position, in a suitcase, being lifted and dropped by each roommate, who was alternating lifting the suitcase full of home-bound luggage. I also found myself being dragged all over the basement of Maeser Hall. Not quite sure what the purpose of that part was. After a while, it was getting really cramped and a little hard to breathe. I think I will seriously reconsider flippantly making remarks such as, "Oh, you're going to Hawaii? Can you take me along in your suitcase?"

Incident #3

I was a sophomore in High School working at a shake shop. We were out of frozen strawberries for malts, so I went to the freezer room to get some more. The first room was a refrigerator, and the second room was a freezer. To open the doors once they click shut, you have to pull a big heavy lever. To avoid possibly being trapped, I had always propped the heavy doors open with huge buckets of ice cream.

This time was no exception. However, in the freezer room, as I was climbing to the top shelf to find the strawberries, I saw the ice cream container slowly slipping. I jumped down from the shelf and ran to the door, but by the time I reached it, it had already clicked shut. I used all of the probably 85 or so pounds I weighed back then to try to pull the lever, but it was too heavy. I braced my feet against the icy walls and jerked on the lever with all my weight, but it wouldn't budge. I was finally shivering too much, and couldn't feel my hands. I sat back and waited to be rescued. 10-15 minutes later the customer had complained, so someone else came looking for strawberries. I was SO happy that I would survive! I could have kissed her! But all she did was look at me with a judgmental expression (as if I was trying to get out of work by hiding in the freezer of all places), and said, "what are you doing?"

Final incident:

When I was young, I was shoved into a tiny toy chest. Somebody then sat on the lid. I don't remember who. All I remember is being curled up with my knees jamming into my nose and my toes flattened out against the wall. That was my earliest recollection of claustrophobia.

2 comments:

Dianey Face said...

Wow Sarah. I almost started hyperventilating just reading this post. I am so so glad you got yourself out of those small spaces. Phew!

Keith said...

I was once lost in a cave for six hours - with a girl. Smart, Keith. Smart.