Claustrophobic? Not me!

I have this fear of small, confined places. Most people simply accept this as part of a phobia that they were either born with, or developed over time. I know exactly where my fear of confined places comes from.

Back when I was a kid, we used to camp a lot. Every weekend during summer vacation, my parents would pack up mostly everything we had, our trusty canvas tent, and my little brother, and head for the hills.

One weekend we camped at a local park. The park featured a beautiful beach and very well groomed campsites. Dad set up the tent and my brother and I went on to the beach. The entire weekend was going great, and eventually, Sunday came. Sunday was the day in which we always headed home. God knows we couldn’t miss church (notice the pun).

Of course, being kids, we couldn’t just go home. We were hungry, we forgot something at the beach, we didn’t say good-bye to our friends, and naturally, I had to go to the bathroom. Poor mom and dad, possibly dizzy from all the complaints, I doubt they heard me tell them that I had to use the bathroom!

So off I went. You know parks, especially back in the 70’s in Newfoundland. Bathrooms didn’t exist in parks back then. OUTHOUSES did!  A wooden building covering a hole in the ground.

I was bursting to use the bathroom. Couldn’t hold it a second longer. I spotted the old outhouse hiding behind a spruce tree and went in. The stink hit me almost immediately. To make matters worst, the door swung shut behind me, the latch on the outside clicked down. I didn’t know the extent until I finished doing my duty.

The latch clicked down. I was locked in an outhouse. A very stinky outhouse that was built over a shithole in the ground. the only ventilation was a tiny hole above the door and the hole beneath the toilet seat. There was no flush handle, you simply crapped in the hole and ran for your life. Only I couldn’t run. I was barred in!

I had to pick the only outhouse that was hidden by a large tree. This little cabin of torture was completely hidden to anyone who either didn’t know it was there or like me, needed to crap so badly that it seemed to appear out of nowhere.

What to do, What to do! I tried running my shoulder into the door, you know, the way they do it on Cop shows on TV! My skinny shoulders were no match for the rugged old spruce boards that adorned the outhouse. Holding my breath probably didn’t help. But the stink. Crap from the hundreds  thousands (I don’t know how many people crapped there, but it was all there beneath the seat next to me).

I cried out but to no avail. In hell, nobody can hear you scream. I prayed, but again nothing! Where was my dad? Shouldn’t he be worried? I never brought a watch, so no telling how long I was in the outhouse. It felt like an eternity. I couldn’t even put toilet paper over my nose. I used most of the roll to cover the toilet seat and the rest I dropped in the hole by accident. I almost died from the smell.

What seemed like an eternity later, I could hear hollers in the distance. It was my dad, he came looking for me. There were a few other outhouses around the park, and I think he tried every one. That was, of course after he checked the entire beach and every campsite in the park. Finally, he found the one in which I was trapped.

By the time dad made it to the hell hole I was barred in, My lungs were sore from me holding my breath. When he clicked open the latch, the door opened and I fell out. I bawled my eyes out while my dad scolded me for not telling him where I was going. But I did. He just didn’t hear me with all the other crap I was going on with. Of course a kid doesn’t understand that.

On the ride home, I found it difficult to sit in the car. I held my head out the window like a retriever, opening my mouth and catching every breath of fresh air (and flies) that I could.

Ever since that day, I cannot stand it in closed spaces. They say that the only way to overcome your fears is to confront them, but there is no way that I plan to enter another outhouse and have the door closed on me! I rather die.

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