1 year ago
Why did I go into the cave? Because it was big. Bigger than an airplane. Bigger than an elevator. Bigger than any tubular playgound I’d ever seen. I convinced myself that it was the word “cave” that was getting to me. I watched the movie about the cave. There were so many happy people oohing at stalactites and ahhing at stalagmites I was sure I could be one of them. We took a 10-minute trolley ride through the jungle to the mouth of the cave. Which looked like the mouth of a giant claustrophobic-eating monster. I’m sure the happy people thought so too, and in we all went, because we’re brave like that.
A few hundred feet into the cave I slipped and fell on my ass, banging my elbow and worse, my camera, on the slippery monster-throat walkway. The guide helpfully suggested I be careful, obviously having noticed I was a happy and carefree spelunker with a devil-may-care attitude about the perilousness of the circumstances. “This is me being careful,” I explained, backside wet but otherwise fine. In body.
In retrospect falling was an astute tactical maneuver. My advice, should you find yourself claustrophobic and in a cave, is to fall down. You will spend the rest of your cave walk worrying only about remaining vertical. When you walk through the room of the cave where the millions of bats are surely sleeping and will not suck your blood or get caught in your hair, and you are gagging from the stench but terrified to let go of the railing even though you just stuck your hand in a fresh glop of guano, you will be too busy to think about your claustrophobia. And you will have me to thank for that, no co-pay, no paperwork.