I suffer horrible claustrophobia. I have always assumed it's because when I was three, I had a spinal tap under duress. My mom was made to wait outside of the room and I freaked. Or was I four? All I know is that my entire life, I've been afraid of small places, being restrained in any way, and locked doors.
Today, as a part of my new job, I delivered papers to our county's detention center. If a student receives special education services, they receive them anywhere...despite their current circumstances.
I was buzzed into a small space, a hallway really, and asked to wait. So I sat and waited. Calmly. I noticed all of the crickets, dead and alive, and thought about how lucky it was that I wasn't afraid of insects. A person would freak out in there if they were afraid of insects. I thought about how warm it was in that tiny hall, what with there being no ventilation. Then my eyes wandered to the door I'd come through. Locked. The door into the building? Also locked.
I rang that buzzer again. Hello? Is anyone coming? "Yes, ma'am. They're just clearing the lunch room." This is when I remarked, as calmly as I could, to the nice voice in the buzzer that I am horribly claustrophobic, and could I please just go wait back outside??? I think I heard a slight chuckle in his voice when he told me yes. When I was buzzed back in, the female officer told me to wait while she checked with the sergeant, to make sure it was okay for her to accept the work I was dropping off. I asked her, as calmly as I could, could I please go wait outside while she finds out? She was not amused. She buzzed me out.
A few minutes later the nice voice behind the buzzer told me that we were all set and I could go.
I was shaken.
So...I must remember to NEVER find myself an inmate. I would surely lose my mind!
I'm not even sure yet how I'll handle it next time I have to go there as an educator. Maybe the nice voice behind the buzzer will let me wait the entire time outside? Maybe I could just mail the papers?