A few days go by and once again lovely Aishah returns. Of course I remember her name and I greet her and make a fuss over her. I ask her how school is going and what’s up for the holiday. She says she’s going home to see her folks in North Jersey then off to Costa Rica for the winter break.
I send her to the Cadillac in room 6 this time. Let’s see what happens this time.
A few minutes pass and the bed lid squeaks closed. The bulbs light and her session had begun. I’m doing my thing around the salon and I’m coming out from the back room with some towels when I hear the familiar squeak of the hood on the Caddy, (We call it the Cadillac because when it’s closed it looks like the front of an old Caddy.
The bed must be open or at least partially for that much light to stream forth from the room. I decide to ask her if everything’s okay with the unit when she comes out.
A few minutes later and hot Aishah appears. She’s waving goodbye and I motion her over. I gotta find out what’s going on.
“Aishah, got a sec?”
She nods smiling, she approaches. “Yea. What’s up?”
“I noticed when you’re in tanning during your session, a lot of light is coming out of the room. It’s as if the hood of the bed is open. Do you have any questions about the machines?”
I see a nervous fear wash across her lovely visage. She takes a deep breath and drops her gaze to the floor.
Aishah looks back up at me. “I’m so embarrassed. You’re going to think I’m crazy. It’s so silly.”
“We’re all professionals here. Whatever is happening I’m sure I can help. What’s up?”
“Okay. Here goes… I have really bad claustrophobia. Like… really bad.”
“Okay. That’s more common than you’d think. Please don’t be embarrassed about it, dear.”
“It’s just an awful feeling. Like, I know I really need to tan, so I go in and breathe and lie on the bed and just wait. I try to stay calm. The bulbs come on, and I slowly close the lid. I try to just chill and breathe. I try to think of anything else, but in a few minutes I start to really panic. Like trembling with fear. I have to push the hood up immediately just so I can breathe.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry Aishah. That’s why you don’t do the stand up units.”
“Oh no! That’s an even smaller space. I could never. I’d run out of the room.”
“Well between now and the next time you come in maybe we can think of some ideas to get you tan and not scare the hell out of you in doing so!”
“That would be nice. I’ll try to come up with something as well. I’m so claustrophobic I don’t even like how I feel when I close and lock the doors on the room. It’s like I’m locked in a tiny room and then in a box with the lid closed. It feels like I’m being buried alive in a crypt.”
“Holy shit. That is scary!”
“Yea, it really is. If I ever had to go into one of those MRI machines I’d jump out a window! But I do feel better talking to you about it though. (takes my hand in hers) I really appreciate you taking the time to ask me if I was okay. That really means a lot to me.”
“Yea. Don’t worry. We’ll come up with something to help make you feel better.”
“Okay. Well until next time. (She smiles weakly and walks out the door.)
This poor girl. I never thought about it before but that’s a new one for me. I’ve heard people say that they do get a little claustrophobic in the stand ups. But not this bad where some one is literally having a panic attack. I kind of like cozy places. Probably because of my anxiety and depression. To be in a small womb like space. It always feels safer to me. Just the opposite for poor Aishah. She feels trapped like a frightened animal in a cage.
We’ll figure something out. We always do. I need to do some research.
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