August 6, 2016

"Those who fear being in closed or narrow spaces, with an emphasis on the inescapability of such, often point to a trigger event."

"Mine was on an insufferably hot day in August 1985, when I got stuck for three hours underground — in a packed subway car with no air-conditioning on the train from Eighth Street — while standing next to a large and equally hysterical man eating a mayonnaise sandwich..."

She did not become afraid of mayonnaise, just closed spaces, and yet, I think, the mayonnaise sealed it. The mayonnaise made it horrifying. Why was the man still eating his sandwich if he was hysterical? The sheer perversity of it is so perfectly embodied in the whole idea of mayonnaise.

23 comments:

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

Is "mayo sandwich" shorthand for something other than mayo stuffed between bread?

I hope so.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

Maybe the sandwich and " large" references are polite ways to say someone is a fat, dirty sack of puss.

Terry said...

You don't know how long you'll be stuck there, underground.
You could get hungry, all of you in that hellish place, and then someone would try to steal your mayonaise sandwich. So you better eat it now.
It also might be a matter of self distrust. If you hide the mayonaise sandwich in your pocket, and some rich guy is stuck on the subway with you, you might be tempted to sell him your mayonaise sandwich for a million dollars, and that money would do you no good at all if you starved to death afterwards. Ditto if a supermodel was stuck in the car with you, and she offered to have sex with you in return for your mayonaise sandwich.

Terry said...

"Alright -- all of you -- throw some money in the hat or I will eat this liverwurst and onion sandwich!"

cubanbob said...

Interesting article. And sometimes a mayo sandwich is just that, a mayo sandwich.


""Those who fear being in closed or narrow spaces, with an emphasis on the inescapability of such, often point to a trigger event.""

Strange how this observation also seems to describe the upcoming presidential election.

MisterBuddwing said...

I remember as a kid reading a list of phobias, each with a brief definition. Several made perfect sense. Acrophobia? Heights make me nervous as hell. Claustrophobia? Who among us hasn't felt uncomfortably, even suffocatingly closed in at some time in our lives?

What puzzled me was agoraphobia, which the list defined as "fear of open spaces." What, I wondered, was so threatening about an open space? Perhaps a more apt definition would be "fear of public areas" - I can see how being surrounded by unfamiliarity can be fear-inducing, even though I've never felt that way myself.

Comanche Voter said...

All you jokers don't know what it is like to be subject to sudden attacks of claustrophobia. You can be in a social gathering and all of a sudden you just have to get out NOW!!!! I don't need a liverwurst sandwich, mayo, or anything else. I can be at a nice law school faculty sipping sherry (well it happened when I was on law review) and you just have to get the hell out of there. It comes and it goes, but it's no fun.

DKWalser said...

A mayonnaise sandwich? Both scary and disgusting. Everyone knows he should have been eating Miracle Whip.

traditionalguy said...

And on the Seventh Day, God created mayonnaise so He could treat himself to a Reuben sandwich while he rested all day thinking about all the funny plants and animals He made for Eve( an early model Althouse) to photograph someday.

F said...

Gotta disagree with you, DKWalser. Miracle Whip might be ok in a crowded elevator car, but on a stuck subway, real mayo is definitely indicated. There are norms, after all.

Crimso said...

Elaine Benes stuck on the subway, her thoughts audible. One of the funnier Seinfeld moments.

David said...

The mayo is a great detail. Something a good short story writer would use (successfully if not spread too thick.)

mockturtle said...

The sheer perversity of it is so perfectly embodied in the whole idea of mayonnaise.

A mayonnaise sandwich is, by definition, perverse.

bagoh20 said...

Why doesn't the whole lot of them take a nap? Everybody wants a little more sleep. It's called an opportunity.

walter said...

Mayonnaise in a hot environment is a ticking time bomb.

mockturtle said...

Why doesn't the whole lot of them take a nap? Everybody wants a little more sleep. It's called an opportunity.

They probably don't trust their fellow travelers.

MikeD said...

Good thing the Brits, huddled in subway stations/corridors during the Blitz, weren't such pansies. Tho', after WWII was won, they voted out the winner & elected a bunch of pansy socialists who almost destroyed Britain, only saved by the "Iron Lady"! If only the Hildabeast was her clone rather than the misbegotten spawn of Beelzebub!

mockturtle said...

I agree, Mike. I certainly would have voted for Thatcher. The only good PM in my lifetime.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

One morning I ate *bad mayonnaise and became vomity. Still, I went to work(it was friday, payday, I was broke). I boarded a crowded rush hour train, one of those tippy trolleys of the MTA that swerve and shimmy from station to station, and hung on a strap, gasping for air.

I was okay as long as we were above ground, in daylight. But the moment we started down into the underground and things got dark outside and bright inside, my mouth started watering and my stomach started to churn up toward my esophagus.

Desperately, I fought through the crowd and appealed to the driver in words he had probably heard before, "I've got to get off this train!" He unhurriedly turned toward me, then saw my pukey face and it was like a jolt of electricity hit him in his seat. "Can ya hold it?" He pointed ahead, "The station's right there!" I turned to look at light in the tunnel ahead. I nodded to him, turned to face the passengers anxiously watching me, and erupted. Geysers of hot, vile vomit were spraying from me, the other riders were stampeding toward the back of the car, screaming as if they were being attacked and stabbed instead of just getting a little upchuck on their clothing.

The train had reached the station, the doors opened in front of me. The pushy passengers on the platform who crowd at the door got puked on when it opened. The looks of shock and horror on their barf-blasted faces was priceless! I staggered across the wide station floor, and collapsed against the opposite wall.

Sweat ran like rain off me, I was panting and gasping like I'd run a mile, every atom of energy had left me, and I lay there and listened to the chaos I created crescendo. The train I had vomited on stood dark with its doors agape, as if it too was shocked it got puked on. The intercom was blurting unintelligible information about the train and track being taken out of service, and passengers being rerouted and bused to their next stops. There was a growing sense of confusion, irritation, and anger among the commuters.

I raised my head to see a group of people that I'd vomited on gathered together on the platform and angrily gesticulating toward me like a lynch mob. With a herculean effort inspired by extreme cowardice, I dragged myself to my feet, ascended the stairs, clinging to the railing like a gutshot mountain climber, and made my escape.

* It was really just a bad hangover.

m stone said...

Seriously, people.

If you've never been stuck in a steamy subway car between stops for an hour, try it!

I got over over my claustrophobia in about a year after therapy and quitting a job because a transfer required me to take a subway.

ndspinelli said...

My immigrant Italian grandfather HATED mayo. He would not allow it in the house or used in his restaurant. I assume he felt the same way about Miracle Whip.

RigelDog said...

I'm claustrophobic but mine relates more to the idea of having my body literally trapped in place, as opposed to being in a small space generally. So, elevators not a problem except if I were sardinned-in and it got stuck. However, last Thursday I was in the Philadelphia criminal courthouse and one of the elevators crashed. I heard it. A sheriff's deputy was severely injured. Now, I wonder if I'll have to deal with a realistic fear of crashing or other malfunctions when I take those elevators several times a week.

Sam L. said...

Mayonnaise, now with added Perversity!