The thing about anxiety is that it isn't always about BIG things. In fact, I would venture to guess that in my case it's more often little, ridiculous things that add up & make adrenaline and who knows what else accumulate in my system and mess with my sensibilities.
Case in point: I recently found myself the recipient of a massage. I'm not much of a spa & pampering type of person, but given my history with back stuff, a good massage can be quite therapeutic.
I was lying on the glorious heated table, under a sheet and lovely purple plush blanket, making pleasant conversation and contemplating my life. My wandering mind was brought back a couple times by my un-silenced phone dinging with texts, but I decided it wouldn't be anything that couldn't wait until later. The Cat Daddy had all the kids and all the carseats, and is quite capable in a crisis and besides, if it were truly urgent he would have called instead of texting.
Well, that got me to thinking about if there were some sort of crisis at the massage place, which got me to thinking about my, um, minimally-clothed situation, and what would I do if the fire alarm went off RIGHT THEN and we had to evacuate?
In retrospect, it seems like a no-brainer to fashion a toga from the sheet, but keep in mind I was under the influence of calming music and pleasant aromas wafting about, so my mental acuity was less than optimal.
My penchant for finding things to freak out about, however, was fully intact. It really depended on what sort of lead-time we'd be talking about. I mean, I could dress & be out of there in under 30 seconds, but maybe we wouldn't have 30 seconds. Maybe the aromatherapy scents would make the air more combustible or something and the massage therapist would say, "We need to go NOW," and bolt without a second look. What then?
Well. One of the things about being a nervous-type is that while I can't pre-think my way out of every possible contingency, having a general plan of action goes a long way. So here's what I decided. The room was situated such that if I hopped down on the left side of the table, I'd pass right by my belongings on the way out, giving me about 2 seconds to grab everything and get out of there. If we were in a real pinch, I could leave my shoes and even my shorts behind, but the shirt was coming with me no matter what. If it was more of a smolder I could take the 30 seconds to dress, but if it was more like Die Hard, with doors exploding open right & left, I could deal with the self-consciousness long enough to get to safety and then put my shirt on. I mean, given the situation, a handful of half-naked people would probably not be the most conspicuous thing that day (or maybe they would...).
I was pretty proud of my careful planning, so I shared it with the Cat Daddy. In case, you know, he ever finds himself nearly-nekkid in the middle of a massage parlor fire. He was less impressed than I had hoped. I blame it on his sound reasoning skills--he mentioned that even if I had been absolutely nude and could take nothing, once the fire dept got there they would give me a blanket or something to cover up with. Honestly though, I'm not sure what the hierarchy is on priorities. Like, do they get the fire out and then worry about covering the uncovered, or do they sort of divide and conquer the responsibilities ("OK Smith, and Taylor, you get the fire out. Jennings, go find some blankets for these scandalous individuals, and then pick up a section of hose")? It's a good backup plan, but I think I'd still prefer my own soft cotton tee.
And thankfully, I made it through the entire massage with nary a fire in sight (Or smell. Or earshot. There was no fire.), so I didn't even have to test my plan.
Now, you might be thinking "What on EARTH, Skerrib??" Because seriously, what is the likelihood of needing to evacuate the building during a massage? And normally I'd hang my head sheepishly and tell you you're exactly right...
...Except that this one time back around 2007 or so where I was having my annual well-woman check and the building was put into lock-down. And not just a "oh, lock the outside doors" lock-down. It was a "remain in your current room and lock the door" sort of lock-down. That's right--paper gown. Stirrups. Mid-Exam. Full-on lockdown.
This is possibly the only time in my life I've thought "Thank God I'm being examined in a military treatment facility," for two reasons:
1) I knew it was part of a base exercise and there was therefore no need to worry. Most likely, anyway.
2) In (most?) military exam rooms they have hospital-style curtains.
So in this instance, the doc finished the exam and pulled the curtain, I re-robed, and then he & I chatted about our young kids until the lockdown was lifted. I have to say that I had never once considered what I would do if the building was put into lock-down while I was in the middle of a medical exam. Thankfully he was super-professional, and calm about the whole thing, and my guess is he'd considered the possibility in some sort of pre-exercise briefing or something, because while he looked a little annoyed by the exercise, he was mostly nonplussed and knew exactly how to handle things as un-awkwardly as possible. Thank the Lord.
Anyway, my point is that it just goes to show you--worrying yourself silly is unhealthy, but a little advance planning is probably not a bad idea. Just in case.