Thursday, May 04, 2006

Anxious Moments

I’ve been thinking about anxiety recently. As a former anxiety-monkey who’d get palpitations just picking up the phone or going to the post box, I thought I’d re-examine modern anxious moments. It’s not whether our leaders will lead us unto a nuclear exchange with Iran, the icecaps will melt or whether the sun will explode that causes us anxiety.

I think it is the other unavoidable and tiny little things that cause the problems. And these tiny little things all add up. For example, on entering a public convenience and there is only the middle urinal that is available.

Ladies, despite the issues you have with queuing, at least you don’t have to dangle your undersized/oversized/oddly-shaped bits merely inches away from other men doing the same. There is also the issue of shaking off the drips – a quick and vigorous shake risks flinging drop of urine dangerously into the face of the guy stood inches away – whilst a slower, but more thorough shake risks arrest. The average guy has to pee 3-12 times a day. This is 3-12 times a day whereby he has to expose himself to this petty anxiety inducing trauma.

And what about the toilet cubicle? Sound proofed? Of course not. What is worse is that just when you have managed to relax sufficiantly to drop the motherload without risking, (i) splashback, (ii) letting rip a thunderous gas escape or (iii) managing to pee accidently through the gap between the seat and the rim, thus down the back of your dropped trousers, some bastard comes and sits in the cubicle next to you. The anxious moment? Try to continue silently, quit losses and leave, or hope that he is quick.

But of course, the third option doesn't happen, because you just know that it will take him half-an-hour to relax enough to drop the motherload without risking, (i) splashback, (ii) letting rip a thunderous gas escape or (iii) managing to pee accidently through the gap between the seat and the rim, thus down the back of his dropped trousers. He might, of course, require that you vacate the premises in order that he can do this. The risk is that you end up with two guys in a cubicle, patiently waiting for the other to hurry up and leave.

There are worse things too. When I was 19, I was in an empty motorway service station toilet – there were about 20 urinals. I thought I was safe. But no, some guy in a suit came in and took the urinal right next to mine. Odd behaviour and a scary moment indeed. So I fled with a small, but noticeable dribble down the front of my khaki jeans because I didn't get time to shake off the drips.

Another common anxious moment is the “two-seats-left-on-a-bus” scenario. Everyone seems to prefer to find a totally empty seat, not just a seat with a person already sat in it.

Anxious moment: “Do-I-look-harder-for-an-empty-seat-and-risk-not-finding-one-and-then-having-to-sit-next-to-that-strange-looking-man-to-whom-I-have-already-given-a-clear-indication-to-him-and-to-everyone-else-that-I-initially-preferred-not-to....oh-God-I-do-hope-I-haven’t-offended-him-now-that-I-have-to-sit-next-to-him!”

Versus the alternative...

“Do-I-just-sit-next-to-that-strange-looking-man-and-risk-being-seen-as-a-weirdo-because-there-is-clearly-an-empty-seat-at-the-back-and-everyone-knows-it-but-I-don’t-want-to-risk-it-because-I-can’t-see-it-and-I-don’t-want-to-upset-the-strange-looking-man.”

It gets worse of course – substitute: “strange-looking-man” for “very-attractive-girl-who-has-suddenly-looked-uncomfortable-because-she-thinks-I’m-going-to-have-to-sit-next-to-her” and you begin to get the picture.

More anxious moments to follow…tell me yours.

1 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

Hi,

Interesting blog.

I came here from seeing the link in the newsgroup...

alt.support.agoraphobia

I was both shocked/surprised/delighted that you are both willing and able to open up and comment on private issues which the rest of society usually tends to keep hidden. However, I found myself agreeing with all that was said there./;-)

GOOD LUCK

Bye4now!/BEST wishes, always!/Paul(UK/London)

PS: Have a NICE day!
;-)

1:19 PM  

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