So, I have news. Big news.
In the month that I have been "home" in Washington, DC, I have accomplished two awesome things.
First, I am almost over my extremely bizarre (albeit mine, mine, all mine) phobia of extremely large escalators. Phobias are such a funny thing. For me, it is not escalators, per se. Medium-sized escalators of less than, say, 30 steps are ok. I don't necessarily like them, but I can handle them without too much panic setting in. But large escalators? The super-sized kind that take 10 minutes to ride?!!? Are you kidding me? They make me frantically search for an elevator to get where I'm going. (Of course, this situation isn't helped by the fact that I also loathe elevator riding and by the time I find one, I'm usually on the verge of hyperventilation at any rate. Strange, but true.)
For those of you who don't know, Washington, DC is full of super-sized escalators. Take, for example, the Woodley Park escalator. I once had a job interview in the Woodley Park area. The escalator at that particular stop made me late. Very late. The elevator to street level was broken at the time, and so I was left with little choice but to put my body on that moving stair contraption thing and let it take me against my will. Of course, my first three attempts at this had me running backwards back down the damn thing until my own state of embarrassment overtook my desire to be composed and punctual interviewee. White-knuckled, sweating profusely in my cute suit, and on the verge of hysterics, I finally reached the top. Going back down was yet another part of the story, but I'll leave that to another time.
Phobias make absolutely no rational sense. In my case, the only rational thing to do is to blame this particular scenario on my grandmother who scared the bee-jesus out of me at the ripe old age of 4 when my family moved to the District of Columbia. Her Old World, prophetic-sounding warning that escalators have the ability to eat the fingers and toes of little girls who don't pay attention to where they are going still rattles my psyche.
At any rate, I promised good news, so here it is: I've been silently, yet deliberately working to overcome this silly phobia. For the past couple of weeks, I've been riding every escalator in the city. I've been using breathing techniques from yoga and meditation to calm my heart rate, and using every opportunity to ride an escalator as a moment to meditate and notice the changes in my body rather than freak out. So far, it's working very well. Of course, my grand opus will be riding the Woodley Park escalator. In the meantime, I am happy to report that I am a basically functional person again. So, yay...
The second item of newsworthy importance is that all of my escalator riding hasn't been a complete waste of time. Usually, this has been done in my combined effort to find a yoga space in DC that rocks. First, let me say that my world-traveling yoga mat and I have trapsed all over the DC metro area together. My search has culminated in the discovery of a righteous, holistic-feeling, yoga safe-place in the heart of town. For anyone interested, Tranquil Space Yoga in Dupont Circle is just the place I had in mind. It's an intimate, gentle place, a fantastic escape from the affairs of pounding the concrete and a perfect spot for calming the girl who is afraid of the city's escalators.