Did you ever have one? It’s quite an experience. I hope I don’t have to do it again any time soon.
I am not petite. Well, in height I am, standing less than 5′ tall these days. About as wide as I am tall. Fit all that chunkiness into a space that allows nowhere for your arms to go; that seems to get closer to your face as they slide you in; that barely lets you blink without leaving streaks of mascara on the upper surface. Then DON’TMOVEDON’TCHANGETHEPOSSITIONOFYOUR HIPS ORBACK!! Oh, and put the earplugs in before the tech slides you into the coffin, because it’s pretty noisy in there.
“OOoooookay. Now, it will be about half an hour. Are you ok in there, Mrs. Kreger?”
What do you mean, am I okay? You just slid me into a teeny tiny little tunnel and I can’t move and I can’t scratch my nose which of course is immediately starting to itch. I used the restroom before you put me in this itty bitty place, but, you know, fear and everything. . . .half an hour, huh? Riiiiiight!!
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Okay, this first one will take about a minute and a half. Don’t move.”
I couldn’t if I wanted to!”
“Bdoink bdoink,bdoink,bdoink,bdoink. . . . ”
“Are you ok in there?”
Of course I’m not okay, you crazy nut! There are aliens making metallic noises in my ears! I can’t move, I can’t breathe, I can’t scratch! Good grief!
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Good. There will be about seven more sessions, and the longest one will be seven minutes long. After that you’ll have only three more. You have the alarm ball in your hand, so if you get in trouble just squeeze it and we’ll get you right out. Ok?”
Seven more?? AAGGGGHHH!! I can’t stand it, I really can’t! I need to move something! Please, just let me move something!
“Okay, I’m ready.”
The aliens came back, only this time they had reinforcements. There were clicks and stutters and boinks and ratatats and the courting songs of whales, with a jackhammer thrown in every now and then for counterpoint.
I deep-breathed. I closed my eyes and concentrated on praying for other people, my family, the state of my lumbar, the state of the Union. As each test was completed, the disembodied voice in my ear would say, “You’re doing great! Only five more. . .three more. . .we’re almost done.”
The seven-minute one was actually a full 24 hours, I’m sure of it.
“That’s it! You’re done, and I don’t have to repeat anything because you did so well. I’m sliding you out now.”
Wait! What?? REPEAT?? You actually have to do some of that all over again with some people? What, are they NUTS??
“There you go, Mrs. Kreger. Good job. I’ll just stand here until you’re sure you’re not dizzy or anything. Sometimes people are a little unsteady when they come out of there.”
A little unsteady. Yeah, I’ll bet. That’s the equivalent of something you’d see on Star Trek as an instrument of torture or brainwashing. Makes you a little unsteady, you betcha!
“No, I’m ok, thanks. Just point me in the right direction to the great outdoors. I’m just a tad disoriented.”
“Ok, well, your doctor will let you know if he needs any more films. You have a good day!”
My doct–he’ll–MORE?? Are you KIDDING ME?? No way, no way in the world are you getting me back in that thing. It would take seven men and a boy and some knockout drops. No WAY!
“Okay, well, thanks. I’ll just be on my way then.”
And I don’t want to see you or this room or that machine EVER AGAIN for as long as I live.