Thursday, January 15, 2009

Compromising Positions (or the downside of being too skinny or too clean)

Posted January 07 in the Deseret Post:

OGDEN — A woman remained hospitalized Tuesday after spending nearly 30 hours trapped upside down in a floor vent.
Ogden police were called Monday evening to a home on the 100 block of Patterson Street by a couple who hadn't heard from their 55-year-old aunt.
"They're used to hearing from her on a daily basis," Ogden Police Lt. Scott Sangberg said Tuesday. "Her car was there, but her house was locked, and she wouldn't answer the phone."
An officer called for a locksmith who came and unlocked the door. Once inside, they could hear someone calling for help.
"They found her in a heat duct in the floor upside down," Sangberg said.
The petite, 110-pound woman was about 3 feet inside the large floor vent. Firefighters were called to help free her.
"They had to extricate her by dismantling the duct in the basement by the furnace connection," Sangberg said.
The woman was being treated for cuts and bruises at Ogden Regional Medical Center. Police said she had been there for maybe a day or more.
"What she was doing, she said, was vacuuming," Sangberg said. "She was cleaning the cold air and warm air ducts. It's an older home and they're on the floor and they're big, and she fell in."

There are a few things about this story that make my day. #1: there are some benefits to being heavier (much) than 110 pounds. If this woman had the love handles I have she most definitely could not have fallen into the shaft. #2: there are some benefits to not being a meticulous housecleaner. Vacuuming and cleaning out vents can be dangerous. Better to have a messy house, I say. #3: It would probably be good to consistently check in with someone every day, especially when living alone. This thought has occurred to me more recently. You see, I am afraid I will get stuck in my shower. Naked and cold. I have some water issues and the floor is settling (contractor coming to bid on Friday…do not fear). The shower door is now becoming very, very difficult to open. I even moved a tool into the shower to break my way out if I really had to. But it gets me wondering what would happen if I did injure myself in my house and couldn’t get around. I wonder how long it would take to be missed. I’m guessing it would be my work to find out first. And only if I missed an important meeting and a client called to complain about it. It could be a very long time. Then I’d worry most about my dog. How long would he survive without food or water? Me, I’ve got fat stored to keep me for a while. And the water issue: well I might be stuck in a shower so that would be solved. And then, if I was stuck in my shower, how desperate could I get. Would I have enough guts to scream really, really loud and try to get attention? Note that I would be NAKED in my shower, and no doubt pretty damn cold. This is not a scene a think about with Prince Valliant coming to the rescue. Not an old naked fat lady in a shower. This is not how love stories start. Or end.

I also recently saw this video of a man stuck in an elevator for 41 hours. Believe me, I think about this every time the elevator in my office building stutters or stalls. If this happened to me I do not think I would survive. Or if I did, I would be forever changed. And I don’t think for the better. I am becoming more claustrophobic the older I get. Closed spaces never used to bother me. But that is changing. I’ve noticed it over the last few years. Maybe it’s my way of over adjusting to being single again and having my own space…and plenty of it. But the other day I was in a tanning bed for the first time in a long time (trying to get my base coat before I head to Africa) and I had a very, very hard time with the space…or lack of it. I had to really talk myself down. Self soothe. Say the Lords Prayer a bajillion times.

So that gets me to wondering. Am I just weird, or do you all do this too?: whenever I am in a small or isolated space I start to wonder what it would be like if I were to get stuck and needed help out. Especially like when I’m in a plane bathroom or something. Mostly when it would be a compromising situation. Like I’d be neked or something.

This is probably a good lead in for more of my “getting my house in order.” This is in my will, but should be known. Don’t put me in a box in the ground when my days are over. Talk about claustrophobia. A funeral pyre will be just fine. Yes, there should be lots of weeping and some laughter. Some inappropriate music is fine, just to keep things interesting. No high drama. But save a seat up front for George Clooney, next to my sis and amongst my best friends. And then you all go off to Italy to celebrate my life. With George in tow, of course. This is my wish, so be it.

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