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November 05, 2013

Claustrophobia

By Brittany Tedesco

A few months ago, some of the other writers and I sat down to interview a native ministry leader who was visiting Christian Aid from Vietnam. I learned, through his translator, just how much he’d suffered for Christ. He’d been thrown into dungeon-like prisons six times…worst of all was when he spent an entire 25 months alone in, quite literally, a dark hole in the ground. As I walked to my car after work, the warm sunshine on my face, I tried to wrap my brain around 25 months in a small, dark space. I could barely comprehend what 25 hours would feel like.

In fact, I find it odd that the word “claustrophobia” even exists—as though only a few “phobic” people dislike being confined to a small, tight space. Who among us would ever relish such a situation?

The closest I’ve come to solitary confinement in a small, dimly-lit space is almost being trapped inside the Christian Aid elevator. A few other staff members actually experienced this several years ago when the erratic apparatus jolted to a stop for several moments with them inside.

That’s when an emergency kit suddenly appeared in a corner of our elevator. Nary has it been cracked open in nearly five years, but that doesn’t matter! It’s our security blanket, if you will, should the unthinkable occur.

Note: the likelihood of the unthinkable might be slim, considering the presence of an emergency telephone inside the elevator, but anything can happen.

“No need to panic!” the kit virtually screams…but how am I not supposed to panic upon discovering, yesterday, that the only edible items inside the kit are a travel-sized cup of peanut butter that expired in 2009, two stale granola bars, and three breath mints? How would I ration these items should I be faced with an extended stay inside the steel prison? A bite of granola bar, a scoop of peanut butter, and one breath mint per day? Or should I wait for a day or two in hopes of a swift rescue before taking the risk of breaking my teeth on the rock-hard oats or getting sick from expired peanut butter?

And what about the waterproof tarp--what’s that doing in the kit? Is there a chance water might start gushing out from somewhere?

What’s the need for a 170-item first aid kit? Is this for when you’ve been locked in the elevator for so long that you bloody your head from beating it against the doors?

A flashlight and batteries next to a book speak of the possibility of a long wait…as does the “urinary director with extension tube for females” and “collector bags.” The only scenario I can fathom where I’d actually even consider using this contraption (and the subsequent risk of being rescued while doing so) is when I’ve been stuck in the elevator for so long that I’ve given up all hope of ever again seeing the light of day.

I’ve put forth many questions…for which I don’t have answers. What I do know is that, after writing this post, I don’t feel comfortable taking the elevator—ever again. A snarky post like this almost begs the writer to get stuck therein. No, I’m not superstitious—I’m just not one to test God. Nor would I like to test out the emergency kit.

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Comments
Toni- posted November 07, 2013
I love this. It gave me my laugh for the day.


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