Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why I'm Not There

Since this whole political firestorm ignited here in Wisconsin, I've had several people ask me if I had been to the state capitol to participate in the protests.  My response is easy:  Not a chance.

Now before you start thinking this means one thing or another in the way of politics, allow me to explain.  My avoidance of the capitol square really has little to do with political opinion.  It has everything to do with a phobia of mine: being stuck in the middle of a massive crowd or mob.

I see videos like this of what's going on at the capitol and I can just feel my skin crawling.

When I was a freshman in college, I attended the Halloween celebrations on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin.  I was attending UW-Madison and a friend of mine was coming from out of town to join in the festivities.  We ended up being among about 75,000 other revelers on the street and I was scared.  It was absolute anarchy and things escalated quickly.  Before I knew it, I was stuck in a solid mob of people who were all pushing toward a large wrought iron fence....and were climbing over it.  I tried to push out of there, but couldn't.  I was being crushed toward this fence and I had countless people pushing against me.  It was at that point that a man in my proximity tried to grab me.  He managed to grope my butt and attempted to cop a feel a bit further north, but he got my fist to his groin before he could do so.  As I turned around, I saw my friend had tripped to the ground and was literally being crushed by the wall of people who continued to move toward the fence.  I managed to pull her up and then we had to scale this huge short skirts and heels.  I got stuck at the top when my skirt caught on a spire and eventually fell to the ground on the other side of the fence.  I earned a bruise the size of a dinner plate on my leg.

I don't like crowds.  So, the idea of standing in that capitol rotunda is enough to trigger an anxiety attack.  No thanks!

And just for the record, I avoided State Street on Halloween like the plague every year after that, especially in the years following when rioting and fires broke out.  The city of Madison has since gotten the event under control, but I still don't go anywhere near it at the end of October!

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