I was pretty sure I had done it before, but when they slid me into that tiny tube, I didn't remember it being SO DARN SMALL. I don't think I am claustrophobic, even though the thought of being buried alive has been one of my most vivid nightmares since I was little. Nothing gets to me like the fingernail marks in an exhumed coffin. I mean seriously. But when they put those squishy earmuffs on my and handed my a panic button, I started to have questions. I was in the tube faster than I could manage to sputter out my inquiries about why one would need a panic button, and then it hit me: Oh. Because, hello panic.
The instinctive, full-on freak-out started to take hold along with the realization that there were walls touching almost every plane of my body and I knew if I opened my eyes I would see cold plastic within inches of my eyeballs. I decided to engage my own mind in a battle of wills.
"Stop it. You're fine. It doesn't hurt. People do this all the time. Of course you can breathe - it just feels like you can't. Just do it. Take a breath. No seriously. A breath. You're not really trying. Quit being dramatic." I could imagine the face of my best friend laughing at me at the foot of the tube. Waiting to win $10 when I came screaming out, squeezing the life out of the panic button. I wasn't a baby. I was gonna do this. I have to admit that there was actually a minute or two when I considered a lifetime of shoulder pain was worth enduring to avoid what was certain death in this plastic shuttle to hell.
"Ok. 25 minutes. Take a nap. Nope. Alright then, distract yourself. Distractions... kisses on my neck, Jamie Fraser - Dang it. I need something more realistic, because God only knows if anyone will ever kiss this neck again. Small plastic tubes are no place for self pity. Switch gears. "
"What if this tube was actually a regeneration machine, and all of the loud noises and vibrations were the removal of layers of fat, wrinkles and blemishes. In 25 minutes I will emerge looking like a 110 lb 22 year old. I can almost feel it. Dammit. I am going to be so pissed when I roll out of this thing still fat and old. Forget regeneration. It's a time travel tube. You can go anywhere in history, you just have to pick."
This project consumed most of my time in the machine. I argued with myself about which era in history would suck the least for a woman, and after giving up on the dark ages, the dust bowl 30s and the old west, because they'd be too much work, and the renaissance because, well, hygiene, guys, and other eras simply because I have to believe that the food sucked, I was struggling. To limit my options, I decided that I could only be transported to a time in the past in this exact location. Spokane, Washington. Then it was a toss up between the 1940s and the 1700s, until the food argument won out again, and I started thinking about what I would order for lunch at a diner in the 1940s. Or maybe even today, and what kind of beer would go with it. By the time they wheeled me out, my stomach was in full-on growl mode and I couldn't believe 25 minutes was over.
Needless to say, the next stop was lunch at The Blackbird, where I got heavily involved with a disastrously good mac n' cheese and a couple of killer brews. Hey man, I earned it.