Harriet Walker: 'Why does Christmas bring on such torpor and agoraphobia?'

Share
Related Topics

I kicked off the festive season by getting stuck in a lift, and I'm ending it stuck in an armchair, practically Velcro-ed in place by some malevolent superpower that dictates I can only watch TV, read my book and snooze with my mouth open. Why does Christmas bring on such torpor and agoraphobia?

"I'm only really going home for a day," one of my friends told me over a drink – our last chance to see each other before I turned into the lovechild of Scrooge and Jabba the Hutt. "I'm working up until Christmas Day and then I'm on holiday. And then we'll be at church, of course, and out on a hike on the day itself." My hair and nails practically retreated into my skin in horror. The thought of even venturing outside at this time of year makes me ill. My family spent Christmas playing The Beatles: Rock Band last year, a brilliant innovation, because strumming the plastic guitar gives some impression of exercise and hitting the little drums with a stick is practically a work-out.

So the fetid atmosphere and unintentional intimacy of a lift should have been perfect for me at this time of year. But it was very small, and also stuffed full of colleagues from The Independent. We'd been at a rather gluttonous drinks party, so our combined weight plus that of all the pigs-in-blankets and mince pies consumed, tipped the lift into creaking paralysis. That, and the fact there were 11 of us rather than the stipulated eight.

"Jump up and down all together to get it working again!" the host counselled through welded-shut doors. "Wrench them open with your nails!" demanded one of the more rapacious trapped journalists. "Why don't you play Angry Birds on my phone?" suggested one of the more tender-hearted among our number to a boy purpling with panic in the corner. Whether he was claustrophobic or journophobic, it was hard to tell. We had never seen him before and when we finally escaped, he was too busy being sick to answer. Escape we did, of course, rescued by firemen whose top lips curled at our quaking and screaming – and quite right, too: when the doors opened, we had only been about a foot from the ground floor.

I was amazed by my own reaction in that metal cube. At first, hysteria; swiftly followed by discomfort (high heels); anxiety, not at the reduced amount of space or air, but that I might throw up on a colleague; and finally, an overwhelming sense of frustration that this lift was simply not where I wanted to be for much longer.

Just like this armchair. I'm going to stand up now and put on some make-up, maybe even have a wash.

Right after this mince pie.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits