Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Because Claustrophobia Just Wasn't Dorky Enough

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.


Lemmonex said...

I still have no idea how that lime ended up in your bed. I put it on your kitchen counter, I swear. it must have had legs.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex - I really think it's the first time I've ever been hit on by produce.

Ibid said...

A girl I knew in college managed to cut her finger, walk into a glass door, smack her head on something, slip on some wet grass, and then fall down stairs and hit the glass door again in the course of about two minutes.
Her cat laughed at her.

[F]oxymoron said...

Can you taste the difference between Pink Peeps and Yellow Peeps?

... and in other random thoughts...

how the hell does a lime randomly end up there?

lacochran said...

It's only in the last few years that I've stopped locking the bathroom door when I am in the house alone and I *still* lock it when I take a bath. I blame too many crazed-killer-in-the-house movies.

So, you investing in LifeAlert? You know, C. Evert Coop wears one... ;)

Shannon said...

Ibid - That's fairly spectacular, and I'm sort of picturing a cat doing a Nelson, "heee heeeaaw" at her.

Foxy - Theoretically, it could have been in Lemmonex's purse (which is why there was no room for me), and could have fallen out when she put her bag down. Or, back to Theory A: it grew legs, and it was trying to spoon me.

Lacochran - Great, now I have to get a water closet panic button, don't I?

JFo said...

I insist on keeping my shower curtain closed, but whenever I first enter the bathroom after being out or at night I check behind the curtain (for monsters, etc.)
I'm 6'4", 200 lb, athletic guy and have lived alone for several years.

Anonymous said...

I often wake up in the middle of the night convinced that someone has entered my apartment and is going to come into my bedroom and kill me. By often I mean once or twice a week. But, the funny part is that the door to my bedroom has an old and very pretty knob that sometimes falls off. By sometimes I mean every time I turn it (seriously, I keep a pair of pliers nearby so that I can get into my bedroom). So, the likelihood is that any crazy person that tried to get into my bedroom would just get a doorknob in their hand. It's a foolproof security system.

Shannon said...

JFo - Just so long as you don't check under your bed for monsters, too.

Fiery Nuggets - Random fear, that's what brings us all together!

Anonymous said...

I fell in the tub once. My first thought was, "Great. This is how they are going to find my body."

My greatest (unrealized) fear is choking while dining alone. I panic every time I swallow those very small, chewed up bites of food.

Patty Duke said...

You're not crazy. Life is.

Shannon said...

Frecks - you know, there are millions of embarrassing ways to die when you live alone. I'm pretty sure I'll fall to my death next time I try to climb the kitchen cabinets.

Patty - I keep telling myself that, then I see these dudes with white suits and butterfly nets, and the theory gets shot to hell.

Malnurtured Snay said...

I close my bathroom door because, if I don't, my cats come in and stare at me, and that's just a little weird.

Also, my bathroom door opens into the foyer, and is directly across from the front door to my apartment. That's just weird and creepy.

Zipcode said...

Did the lime put out? ha

I take my cell phone to the bathroom with me everytime for some odd reason.

Shannon said...

Snay - Cats really do have a talent for lurking, don't they?

Zip - No, but I could tell it was Lemmonex's lime because it tried to spoon me a few times in the night.

Dave said...

In moments of honesty, I have to admit the Blue Men group scare me. Bald, blue, weird eyes. They don't say anything. Ever.

LiLu said...

I think my very existence is proof that jackassery never truly dies.

Shannon said...

Dave - I met a Blue Man once, gave me the total willies.

LiLu - We should organize some sort of jackass Olympics.

bh said...

I get motion sick riding backwards on the Metro. Like, I have to get off and go above ground and catch my breat or I'll hurl, sick.

I also am painfully superstitous. I won't take employee guest badge 13. Seriously.