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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing