Yes. I am claustrophobic. Nothing to recommend. I’d prefer a hundred times more to be arachnophobic or scared of heights. But no – unluckily, I was gifted with the fear of closed spaces and it doesn’t mean, like most people think, that those spaces have to be small. When I don’t want to enter an elevator, I usually hear: „Come on, it’s big!”. But this isn’t what it is all about! It can be the size of the Olympic stadium, but as long as it doesn’t have any windows I can jump out of or another exit which I can use anytime, so long I am not getting in. Throughout the past few years, I took the elevator 2 or 3 times being very – let me repeat – very drunk and it was just to the 3rd floor. When it comes to being sober-minded, I did it when I was little, I guess I was 5 years old and I was forced by my mother; and the second time was 2 years ago when I had to undergo safety training for Starbucks in Zieleniak on 13th floor. My intention was to use the stairs, but the delightful man who worked there took me by the hand, said: „I work here, so if something happens, they have to get me out quickly” and got in the elevator with me.
This time it was a little different. In the past few days I was helping some polish couple buy a flat in Barcelona. It meant I was riding the subway constantly and visiting lots of blocks and townhouses. Flats were often located on 7th or 10th floor and I had no problem climbing the stairs while others used the elevators. However, one day we had to go and see the apartment in Santa Coloma, the hilly district of Barcelona. We got off the subway and my friends – as usual, headed to the elevator. This time all the people from the subway decided to do the same. Everyone went up and I, little scared (alone under the ground), started to look for the stairs. It turned out that these aren’t the typical marked subway stairs (which are sometimes escalators) with normal stairs next to them, that some people use. The only stairs which were available were hiding behind a huge door saying: „Salida de emergencia”, which means „Emergency exit”. They looked like that door in shopping malls which are for employees only.
Something like that.
I went through and then I saw the big red inscription: -12. “Okay” – I thought – “It’s nothing, I’ll just quickly run up to the top”. Every two or three floors I had to go through that horrible door again, making sure that they have a normal door handle on the other side, not a latch, before closing them. I started to feel very scared. There was completely no one there and if there was, he could have easily raped me, killed me, cut me into pieces and maybe in a few weeks my remains would be found. I was so scared I started to get dizzy, I had no phone reception and I was talking to myself. When I reached -4 and wanted to get through the next door, it turned out that those had the latch on the other side. I stood there and I was in two minds. Run downstairs or move on? I was afraid that if this door would shut behind me, it will turn out that there are no more doors and I will be stuck between floors without reception. I decided to get back down. I was running down in fear. But again, as I got down, I had a dilemma – use the elevator or take the subway two stations farther and exit safely on the ground? But I couldn’t do it. They were waiting for me above. I decided on using the elevator. No way that I would get in there by myself, so I waited for the subway, with people heading to the elevator, to come. I was waiting anxiously for 5 minutes. Finally, when the subway came, I could not help myself and simply broke down crying. I got in the elevator with a man, a girl and an elderly woman. The latter probably realized that I was afraid because she grabbed me by the hand. We rode 12 floors in 30 seconds and I was recovering for another 30 minutes. As I left the station I looked as if I was rolling in coal. My hands were black from those never used handrails and touching my face while crying ended in my face being all black too. Such an adventure.
I will never use an elevator again. I warn you that I will not take any elevator challenge!
So what are your phobias?