You know how I’m kind of a jackass? Well, strap in for this one:
The moment I found a lime in my bed, I knew it was all downhill from there.
Friday night, I had one of my Celebrations of the Mighty Uteri, in which I take several girlfriends, line them up in a pretty row, and lob prosecco and chocolate at them until they wobble. Everybody plunges from karaoke-tipsy to home-in-a-wheelbarrow sloshed at a rapid clip, and these evenings tend to wrap up pretty early.
So, I was all alone at 11:00. I gathered up the (somewhat abundant) wine glasses, found an elusive and mysterious lime tucked between my bedsheets, and arranged the empty bottles into amusing shapes. I washed a few dishes, drank water, sobered up, changed into pajamas, and decided it was time to hit the restroom.
Yes, I hereby admit that I have, on occasion, used a restroom for its intended purpose.
However, that’s not the galling admission. That comes after.
We’ll start with the fact that the doorknob wouldn’t turn, the lock was jammed, and the door wouldn’t open. We’ll continue with a little slice of knowledge: I am not kidding, or being cute, by saying I am claustrophobic. I am, to a crippling degree, unable to deal with being confined. I have my little workarounds, and I don't make anyone else suffer for it, but there you go.
So, there I was, all alone, trapped to a small space and struggling to get free. At some point, I whacked the light switch with my elbow. I was plunged into sudden and complete darkness.
...and what’s even dorkier than claustrophobia? I am also afraid of the dark. I’m pretty much night blind, and find darkness utterly disorienting. So began a very ugly panic attack in which I forgot where I was and hyperventilated for what felt like eons, but was probably mere centuries.
Eventually, I came to. I put my hands out, realized I was touching a bathmat, realized that, statistically speaking, I was probably in my own bathroom, found the light switch, and forced open the door. I got out, stood on my balcony, and breathed in enough night air to quell the panic.
You know, I’m not completely sure why I’m telling this story. It makes me seem like a crazy lady. (Perhaps no more so than usual?)
But I think everyone has had the same freakout: “I’m (AGE), single, I live alone, there’s no rescue.” My version just includes a toilet, a sink, and several layers of full-on crazy. (And, yes, no matter what age you are, tacking it onto the title of your latest freakout gives it an extra air of poignancy.)
Anyhow, like everything else that has ever happened to me, I find it all very funny. I told this story several more times over the weekend, between Connect Four and Clash of the Titans and birthday parties, and everyone was incredibly sympathetic. They all declared they would have likewise lost their heads, or, if not, they could at least cheer me up by telling me about the time they accidentally wound up on Taxicab Confessions.
So, why am I really telling this story? I think it’s fair to point out that, no matter how far we think we’ve come, we’re all still full of foolish fears and complete jackassery. Most of us are three wrong turns away from total wreckage, panic, and being trapped in a dark and tiny space that may sometimes be merely metaphorical. Those dark and tiny spaces belong to everyone, and, the faster we acknowledge them, the faster they fill with light. I also think, just maybe, it’s because:
I live alone. Why was I closing, let alone locking, the bathroom door?
Hrm. Maybe that’s the lesson.
In the comments, tell me something, anything, to prop up my shattered ego.