Panic

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Deep in the trenches of suburban Boston around the spring of 2005, laid a morose and apathetic recent college graduate who had become completely numb to the possibility of escaping ‘the town’. Everyone has ‘their town’. Some people find solace in ‘their town’, some despise the familiarity and routine of ‘their town’. Still few people are succumbed to the depths of ‘my town’ before embarking on that exodus from the undesirable location.

Here was my absolutely depressing situation: recent college graduate, working down the street at a local computer repair shop (such a technical ability surely lends itself to fulfilling social contact), no car, no girlfriend, my mattress arranged on the floor so as to prevent the strain of sitting up to play endless hours of video games. Whenever my eyes could simply not take staring on a monitor any longer I could just roll over and pretend I was in the hospital, to justify the odd aches and strains associated with laying down for hours while not sleeping.

By nature’s fancy I was able to jolt myself from my reclusive and unhealthy lifestyle. While reading something internet-y at work, surely on one of the websites my boss had e-mailed me about checking hundreds of time per month, I had the good fortune of a visit from the panic attack fairy. Not one of those ‘oh dear, let me sit down’ panic attacks. I’m talking about a ‘my-lungs-have-stopped-working-and-I-see-the-face-of-death-and-its-staring-right-at-me’ type of panic attacks. I tried to lay my body down on a cold concrete floor, attempting to regain control my breathing, but the fear of a eleven-foot tall bear about to disembowel/impregnate me persuaded me to move to action and that action was ‘to run’. As I made it outside, trying to frantically make sense of why I felt as if I had been stabbed by my closest friend when in fact I had been sipping on Boku boxed fruit drink, I decided in my mind this would be a fine time to test this new futuristic e911 service. The thought of a rescue helicopter zeroing in on my exact GPS location while I lay sprawled on the concrete, of that 99 cent surcharge I pay for every month on my cell phone bill actually fulfilling it’s Jerry Bruckheimer-influenced dream scenarios was too romantic for me to let pass by. After the seventh try, upon the absence of distant helicopters, the lack of camaflogued EMTs erupting from the woods, a missing icon on my cell phone assuring me Robocop was on the way, I went back inside and dialed myself up an ambulance on the landline.

I think I cracked a smile when I received a look of confusion and alarm from the plump old lady receptionist when I informed her the ambulance arriving out front was on my behalf. I strolled out the front door, calmly explaining to the gentlemen with the stretcher and oxygen tanks that I was definitely dying and I wanted them to stop the process post-haste. As I lay in the back of the ambulance, completely terrified my last visual moments on earth would be comprised of two mustachioed men hooking my arm up to tubes and needles, I thought of the kids of the EMTs who were out playing baseball and writing hit plays and doing their girlfriends and not calling in ambulances for themselves. What strong young men to not have random impulses of imminent doom disrupt their fun and success, to not have the physiological response of a shark attack seize control of a blithe, tranquil Tuesday afternoon, to not have the sudden realization that you may have remnants of illicit material in your system, and there will most certainly be blood work in your near future. Those guys must have thought I was such a pussy.

 

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