That title makes no sense to those of you who aren’t claustrophobic. But to those of us who are, that’s how we feel when we are in enclosed spaces. Like when we are touring a submarine and feel like the walls are closing in. On our way to Kiawah Island from Charleston on the 6th, we went to Patriots Point. We had a blast exploring the ships and gettin’ some learnin’ in; you should definitely go there if you’re in the area. We even left some activities on deck for the next trip. Anyway, when we came to the USS Clamagore, I felt a tiny bit of apprehension, but I was able to squelch it and proceed. We were down there with a smackload of people and it was difficult not to get friendly with stranger’s body parts. I believe I touched a lady’s hindquarters, but we both chose to ignore the event in a nod to the crowded conditions. I was able to quell my claustrophobia by just thinking about how I would feel if I had to live in this space WHILE UNDERWATER. Whew. Deep breaths. So, I was ok because I got to tour the sub and then depart.
OK, warning: I’m about to go on a tangent. What is with the creepy, life-sized dummies that they place strategically around on these ships? Are they supposed to “mimic real life” or are they really intended to make people lose their shit? Because I think it’s the latter. They are creepy as all get out. You are looking at the cots and thinking about how incredibly tiny these people must have been or how their bodies must have ached when they woke up or that they couldn’t have slept in the first place because those cots are seriously doll-sized. Then you view the shower and you stare amazed as you think, HELLO! I couldn’t even brush my teeth in there let alone wash my entire body. Then you come to the kitchen where they’ve laid out some anachronistic McNuggets and Sno Balls or some such madness since they have identified all of us as brain-dead slugs unable to conjure up an appropriate food vision. Then, what ho! Who’s this in the control room? It’s a freaking life-sized DUMMY here to scare all the people. BOO! Listen. Stop with that. We know your motivations are not virtuous here. If they were, the life-sized dummy would be in the cot demonstrating how a regular-sized person was supposed to contort to fit in that damn space, or even better, stuffed in that shower for the love of all that is sane and good illustrating how you are supposed to bathe yourself while you are folded in the shape of an envelope. Thank you for your time, you turd rapscallions. Ahem, I should clarify that my turd rapscallions comment is directed at those who are strategically placing the life-sized dummies for maximum creep-out effect.
Back to my original topic. As we got deeper into the sub, we came to a mother and her two children who were making their way back to the entrance of the sub. She was clearly battling a bad case of claustrophobia and had tried valiantly to make it through for her kids’ sake. She had ultimately lost the battle and was trying to get back out. Her husband was trailing and saying to her, “I’m sure there is an exit and it’s probably closer than the entrance.” He was trying to calm her down, but I know she was just in problem-solving mode and didn’t want to draw any extra attention to herself. The awesome thing was that she was joking her ass off with her kids and making light of the whole thing. I could see the panic in her eyes, but she was putting on a brave face so her kids wouldn’t be worried or embarrassed. My guess is that she insisted that her kids and her husband finish the tour while she made her way back. It’s what I would have insisted had I been in her shoes. But her kids were clearly unaffected by the whole thing and looked like they just wanted to take care of her. I should mention that this tour is a single-file type of experience through most of the sections, and she made it through the majority of the tour. Watching how that family handled themselves and how nobody even noticed what was going on except for me (because I had a sense of what she was probably feeling) made me want to fist pump her as she moved past me. Wait. Is it fist pump or fist bump? Whatever. Rock on, woman! And rock on, supportive family members!