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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.

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


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