6. Being Buried Alive

I am a fear faddist. Generally there’s one thing which will worry me desperately, obsessively, for a few months and then suddenly fade from my thoughts – to be quickly replaced by a new dread. The only think I can compare it to is romantic crushes – consuming, inescapable emotions which turn out to have very flimsy foundations.

After being afraid of nuclear war I was afraid of disease – ebola, Mad Cow, it varied. Then came wrongful arrest (I think I read about how some websites would encode jpegs the size of a single pixel which would then turn up on your hard drive as full on p43d0g3dd0n when Plod came to call), and more recently boring if more realistic fears of penury and bad health. In fact these fears are pretty commonplace and – unlike the bomb, ebola, and being framed for pervertalism – I can do something about them: the fear equivalent of settling down in a relationship.

Anyway in between the Mad Cow and the wrongful arrest came being buried alive. I needn’t go into detail about why being buried alive would be scary – it’s a slow and desperate death, and it has the ‘flickering hopes of escape gradually fading’ thing down to a T. The only problem with being afraid of it was working out how exactly I would end up in that situation.

Accidentally when thought dead? Too easy to get out of (mental note: must write will and include cremation). In an earthquake or some other disaster? Too many rescuers about. No, it has to be something else – being buried alive ON PURPOSE. Evil spouse like in that Roald Dahl story? Not really in her nature. Okay…GANGSTERS! How would I get involved with gangsters? A dodgy business deal? As a market researcher – hardly! Maybe it’s a case of mistaken identity?

And so on… I think on one occasion I lay sleepless at 3AM thinking about a post-apocalyptic cult burying me alive as a religious sacrifice. All of which goes to show the key lesson of fear: it makes you mental.