My father always stood by the door in case there was a fire in the movie theater. In fact, my father always stood by the door in case of a fire. A relative of his had died of severe burns in a burning theater due to the stampede caused by the fire.
The disaster gripped him so much that the first thing he did when he entered any place was to examine the evacuation routes. A line from a Serrat song says, “Children often resemble us.” I take my father as an example in this regard. The first thing I do when I enter a hotel room is usually look at the map on the back of the door that shows the guest’s location relative to emergency exits. It gives me great relief to see the red dot on the map with the words “here” written underneath it. While I am on the map, I am also here, outside of it. I accept this frantic form of two-way movement in order to know my place in the world and to know which way to run so that the flames and bodies of those fleeing do not reach me.
I do the same in restaurants, cafes and concert halls. I am a natural researcher when it comes to emergency doors and just doors. When I venture deep into a large surface (such as an Ikea or Leroy Merlín), I look left and right for possible escape points in case of evacuation. I have five escape routes in my own home that I have carefully researched.
I often wonder if this frenzy to secure a way out is a metaphor for my desire to escape from myself. How do I get rid of panic attacks? Is there a trap door in my mind that protects me from anxiety? Yes yes: I developed skills for this too. Meditation is one of them, but I’m not good at it. Imagining stories saves me. From the moment I start imagining a story, I move away from reality. There’s a problem: It’s easier to stay locked inside that story, inside that novel that sometimes catches fire, only to then be crushed to death by fleeing characters rather than the heat.
Dolores Johnson is a voice of reason at “Social Bites”. As an opinion writer, she provides her readers with insightful commentary on the most pressing issues of the day. With her well-informed perspectives and clear writing style, Dolores helps readers navigate the complex world of news and politics, providing a balanced and thoughtful view on the most important topics of the moment.