Off Topic and Trapped on the 46th Floor


I had planned to go down to see the Crows, the Cardinals, the White-Throated Sparrows, the Chickadees, and whoever else might have been milling about in the fallen snow yesterday, but the elevators in the building where I work stopped working about the 32nd floor. That is, they have one bank that goes up to 32, and another that goes up to 48. And as luck would have it, I am on 46.


So I took a few pictures out the windows of the office while I still had the lens attached. Not a great view on a cloudy, snowy day. The building was offering to shuttle us between 46 and 32 on the freight elevator but by the time I found that out, my lunch hour was over.


Then I began looking for a word for the phobia that could describe this situation perfectly, be diagnosed as a medical condition and perhaps qualify one for compensation (yes, I have a devious mind, especially when I feel trapped). I could not find one for “fear of being trapped in high places” – just as there is no specific word for “fear of being trapped in elevators.” But there are a few possibilities. Claustrophobia, we all know, is a fear of enclosed spaces. Agoraphobia is a fear of high places. And one I had never heard of before until I entertained this thought, Cleithrophobia, is a fear of being locked in an enclosed space, which is more like it. I propose cleithro-agoraphobia, a complex but very possible diagnosis.


As it turned out, I got home a bit early, riding a train I used to take years ago. Looking forward to getting back to nature this weekend.