Thursday, July 22, 2010

Route, escape

As a kid, my biggest fear was being kidnapped- and this was compounded by major anxiety because I felt there was very little I could do to prevent it. (For more on the complexes I suffered from at a young age, see my post on when at age 10 I thought I was going to someday house Baby Jesus Part Deux in my uterus.)

When I was about five, I created an elaborate system that would protect me from the kidnappers who were surely plotting my abduction from an underground lair nearby. Underneath my daybed were several paper boxes that my mom had brought home for storage. I spent a few afternoons rearranging them in different ways, trying to find a spot where I would be best concealed. There were 2 main issues that kept me from pulling this off as spectacularly as I’d hoped:
  • The boxes were heavy, and you could always hear me moving them
  • No matter how you arranged the boxes, it was always obvious that there was an opening in the corner where I was hiding
After much thought, I eventually combined the contents of two boxes, creating a hollow box that I’d use to move in and out quickly and quietly. I made sure there were no gaps between boxes that would give me away. Next, I stole a bunch of throw blankets, sheets, and bath towels from around the house. I painstakingly folded them so that I could quickly pile them over my body, making it look like the empty space was inexplicably where we kept a hell of a lot of linens.

It looked like this:
Not to scale, except the hair

On days where not much was going on (so, pretty much everyday in the suburbs), I would drill myself at getting into the space quickly. My record was nine seconds. This was pretty respectable, but I was still concerned that the blankets were too conspicuous. Eventually I trusted my best friend and neighbor to check out my plan, and give me tips on how to best arrange the blankets. Her perspective first calmed me down, as she insisted she couldn’t tell I was there. But now there was also the possibility that she’d sell me out if the kidnappers offered her a cut of my ransom.

One day my mom discovered that I had empty space under my bed, and she filled in my crawlspace (while wondering aloud why she would have put our guest towels under a dusty bed) with more storage boxes. This was the same time that it was announced at school that a man was following schoolbuses and trying to coax kids into his car when they exited their stops, so you can imagine what my mental state at the time was like.

R is for route, escape. If I’d been smarter I would have had one that actually got me out of my house. As it was, the best I could come up with as a kindergartener was one that required me to lie in fear as kidnappers searched my house in vain for their precious target. My mom was driving a rusted Chevy Nova at the time so I’m not sure why I was so convinced that I’d be taken for ransom. Unless the demand was gas money or my mom’s silk flower crafts, I’d never have gotten out alive.


Anonymous said...

When I was little I was convinced the kidnapper hid under my bed. So if I had to get up to go to the bathroom during the night I would ALWAYS get a running start & jump onto my bed from a foot away so the kidnapper wouldn't be able to grab my feet.

Teresa said...

If I didn't already know it, this post would confirm for me that you. are. CRAZY.

Better get those deadbolts on the fire escape door--they might be coming.

Gina Marie said...

Haha Sara I love it. That's the exact kind of little kid rationalizing that I'm talking about.

TMW, all kids are crazy. Who would ever want a normal kid? BORING.

Jamie said...

I still have this post starred and go back to it when I need a laugh. Like right now. You crack me up.