Man On Fire – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Not sure where my dose of self-diagnosed claustrophobia came from exactly. Maybe from when I was in fifth class in primary school. And for some reason a group of us were put in class with people in sixth class. The Special Ones, as we called ourselves. Too smart for fifth class! As a result, we were let run free on extracurricular activities a lot. Like making art projects in the room used for storage. Where there was a big chest (in the treasure sense, as opposed to the cleavage). So when we were bored someone might suggest “How long can you fit in the chest for?” And so in one of us would go. Being the stubborn clown that I once was/am now, I would try and stay in the longest. Something I did not enjoy. Particularly as I was also one of the taller folk. Squeezed. Cramped. Squashed. But I must stay in the longest! Panting like a pregnant dog in heat. Sweating. Freaking. Stubborn. Finally bursting free!
Except one day a teacher came in to see how our art project was getting on (I think we were making a volcano at the time). And no one wanted to be caught playing this weird lock ourselves in the treasure chest game. So while I’m coughing, spluttering and tapping on the lid inside the chest trying to be let out, my special classmates are on the outside coughing, spluttering and tapping feet to hide the noise of my muffled cries for help. Eventually the teacher left. And people from sixth class ended up destroying our volcano. But still. That was long enough for me to both not trust the Special Ones anymore (I decided at that point I would be the Especially Special One on my own from here on in) and also long enough for me to give myself claustrophobia. One of the ways I think I gave it to myself, at least.
Another factor that contributed to this mess was a little thing called a Mini. The car. The one my friend John O’Brien had. Jump forward to a few years later. Now I’m in secondary school. About fifteen I think. Still not able to drive myself. But John O’Brien was old enough. Bought himself an old black Mini. One of those tiny little cars. Bit battered but John restored it. Mutton dressed as lamb. Mighty! Every day after school about six of us would pile in and drive around. Two in the front. Four somehow in the back. (I don’t think I could even fit in the backseat on my own these days, so not sure how we ever fitted four at one go.) Anyway, in we’d get. And just drive around. Check out what’s going on in Rochestown. Cruise through Douglas. Around the car park of the shopping centres. Do the same loop again. And then we’d have no where else to go.
So we’d just sit in the car. And do nothing. Look out the window. Talk about girls as if we knew what we were on about. All that fun stuff. Unfortunately I would mostly be in the back seat for these fun trips. This due to the fact I was last on John’s route for picking people up. Furthest house away from his. So I’d get the worst seat in the back, behind John’s who needed leg space for driving meaning his chair would almost be fully back. On top of this the weather would usually be stuffy, humid and wet. Windows condensed so Bob Hope of seeing out. Sweat starting to build up as you just sit in a car full of cramped people. The A/C would be in use to clear the front windscreen, so probably blasting out hot air. And then John might light up a cigarette. Add fuel to this fire. (This was before the days of smoking being fully looked down on. No one would even think to give John a dirty look.)
Anyway, I think from being like a clown in a Mini, my claustrophobia took on another level of pregnant dog panting. No back windows? No back doors? No seeing out? Surrounded by a group of sweaty bodies? Felt like I was buried alive. One day I snapped. Stuck in traffic on the way home from school. Everyone else in the car was smoking at this stage. Cold and raining outside. Roasting and humid inside. Windows up. Hot air blasting to clear the windscreen. I thought I was going to die. Here, eh, I need to get out. Now. Seriously. Let me out. What are you on about? Just let me out, I’m freaking out, can’t handle this anymore, my head is going to explode if I don’t get out of the car. SERIOUSLY! After a few laughs, weird looks and a constant flow of LETMEOUTLETMEOUT! they realised I was serious. Out I got. Freedom. Took in a waft of fresh air. And walked home in the rain. Never felt better.
Well, bar the pneumonia I think I got from walking home in the rain for thirty minutes. That was a balls. But at least I was free! Well, bar turning into a complete weirdo when someone lifts up the passenger seat in their car for me and tells me to hop in the back and I see there are no back doors and I start panting like a pregnant dog and my head goes red at the top of dying in the backseat and I tell this person that I can’t get in the back as I’ll freak out and they think I’m joking when I ask if I can sit in the front and would they mind sitting in the back and then it gets awkward when they realise I’m not joking and then I say it’s fine so I’ll just walk or get a taxi to the beach and then they get in the back seat and then there’s that awkward five minutes of me explaining that I’m not actually spoofing and all of that and I only just met this person two minutes ago when they got out of my friend’s passenger door to let me in the back. But besides THAT, I never felt better or more free. Oh yeah! Go me!
So where was I? Oh yeah, this was all for one line. Of the next blog. Which is all about paradise. And how I get there. In that flying coffin. Ahem. Well worth that gibber! To be continued…
Yeah Yeah – Willy Moon
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