I’ve written about irrational fears before. Most of the “what are you afraid of?” discussions I’ve had always involve someone bringing up claustrophobia, the fear of tight spaces.
I’ve never liked the idea of being wedged in somewhere tight and inescapable, but I’ve never been in that situation, so it didn’t bother me too much.
However, yesterday, I found myself wedged into something and had to rethink my views.
I was at a big Bouncy World thing in Salt Lake. It’s a big warehouse with a huge inflatable pillow on the floor, inflatable slides, a couple of little climbing playgrounds, and a really expensive concession stand. My son loves to jump, so we went and we jumped. On a side-note: every four year old in the place decided that chasing me was really, so while their moms sat on the edges of the room and texted, I got harried and hectored by children. I’m too good of a sport sometimes.
The worker assured me that everything was usable for adults and children: all the jumping stuff, all the toys. I let my son goad me into chasing him up into the climbing apparatus. I found myself twisted into increasingly tight spaces while hanging punching bags and other doodads swung back and forth and hit me in the face. I was sweating and couldn’t wait to get out.
The way out was a red corkscrew slide. It looked like a tight squeeze. It was.
About halfway down, I slowed, then stuck. For those of you who are new here, I’m pretty big. 6’7″, broad-shoulders, about 260 lbs. The corkscrew was tight enough that I lodged a couple of feet from the bottom.
“Hey!” I said to myself. I wasn’t scared, but there were other things I’d rather have been doing. But apparently I said it out loud, and loud, because suddenly the hand of a concerned citizen was grabbing my ankle, yanking me out while squealing children piled up behind me.
I’m sure I could have gotten myself out, but it was unpleasant for the brief moments I was stuck. That slide, and airplane lavatories, are the most claustrophobic experiences I’ve had, and they are enough to keep me out of that cave from The Descent.