Every December, the Family Prude takes a trip to a Major Midwest City.
So, apparently, does almost everyone from the lower 48 states, the Ukraine, and a province in France where men and women weigh less than 100 pounds, wear tight pants, high-heeled boots and enormous fur hats.
This plethora of people can cause some complications for those suffering from claustrophobia. For the claustrophobia-immune, here is a short synopsis of the malady:
A Claustrophobe, in certain situations, feels as though the ceiling is descending on his/her head as the walls are closing in around his/her shoulders as the floor is rising up to meet him/her as someone is stuffing cotton wool in his/her mouth. And all the while, 11 pipers are piping tunelessly in his/her ears.
The illustration below demonstrates graphically what a Claustrophobe would feel like if the Claustrophobe were a building in a major Midwest City.
|Claustrophobe being squished from all angles|
Plunk your prudish Claustrophobe into the midst of this city, surround her with several million shoppers, thousands of Salvation Army bell ringers, a virtual army of taxis, buses, trolleys and horse drawn carriages, and she will immediately want to visit a restroom for some privacy and some air.
However, air in the public restrooms of the major city is seldom fresh, privacy is an illusion and the stalls are only broad enough to accommodate the skinny provincial French. The floor is usually littered with toilet paper which rises up to meet our Claustrophobe.
Restaurants provide no haven. Most have tables arranged so closely together that the hostess has to make sure a right-handed guest is not sitting back-to-back with a left-handed guest since their elbows will collide upon lifting a spoonful of hot soup.
Hotels, instead of sprawling, are stacked. They are built so closely to neighboring hotels that were, say, a guest at the Hilton able to open a window, that guest could compare brands of complimentary shampoos and body lotions with a guest at the Hyatt.
One learns to hold tightly to small children on the streets of this major city. If a parent should lose the grip on a child, that child knows to stand still and let the foot traffic eddy around him whilst the parent, unable to turn and buck the flow to get back to the hapless child, instead circles the block and scoops him up on the next pass.
Traffic signals wink naughtily at the Claustrophobe, enticing her into the middle of the street before changing from green to red. At this point the taxis take over and surround her with horns a-honking and rude hand signals a-flying. Elevators, escalators and revolving doors wait patiently for their chance to entrap her.
Eventually the weekend of squishiness ends. Our Claustrophobe Prude goes back in her quiet little village. And immediately begins to plan the trip to the Major Midwestern City for next year.