By the time I escaped, the room was a coffin. The perfect Orwellian 1984 example. The room where they know your deepest fears. There was no way of going back inside. I would sleep on the corridor floor before going back to that Room 101.
It is 2.35am and I am wide awake, somewhere between Budapest and Bucharest. What was supposed to have been a more comfortable sleeping arrangement has become a nightmare for me.
We have been sleeping three to a compartment and I have had the middle bunk. Mark MacKenzie has always taken the higher, less spacious, top level. But I am two meters long and cannot afford any smaller space. Mark has endured rather well.
Anyway, Mark managed to negotiate his own compartment from the unoccupied berths, leaving just two of us in one room. More air and I would sleep on the top bunk. Two hours later, the room is far too hot. Somehow the heat got turned on again and the room moved into sauna temperatures. OK, I exaggerate, but when sleeping in heat when you prefer a chill to the bedroom, it all feels too much. To fit the space, my body had to simultaneously zig and zag to fit the space. The upper body had to corkscrew to fit the top half and then the hips had to twists to allow the lower half to fit the space. Sleeping is not supposed to be an exercise is contortion.
Then I was near the ceiling, leaving the very intimate sense of claustrophobia.
I could barely raised my arm to elbow height and it was impossible to slip off the trousers and on the PJ bottoms in the space. Alongside that, my shoulder still cannot tolerate any weight after the bike crash I had two days before we left. It has been fine, by and large, but small stabs of pain still happen every day. Sleeping on the shoulder is impossible.
By the time I tried for the third time with the PJs, cramps slicing down my contorted legs, claustrophobia had me. I could feel the panic rise until I came out of the bunk at speed. Anything to get to the floor so I could escape the room. It was all compounded when I could not slip off the door security chain. By the time I escaped, the room was a coffin. The perfect Orwellian 1984 example. The room where they know your deepest fears. There was no way of going back inside. I would sleep on the corridor floor before going back to that Room 101.
... They do not allow you to sleep in the narrow corridors of a sleeper car.
Anyway, it is all slightly better. The train car purser has opened the second bunk and then raised it to give Jocelyn more space. The third bunk is closed and I can actually sit up in bed and pen a blog about my personal fears and extreme anxieties. Claustrophobia does get to me. I can barely watch a WWII film like The Great Escape without having to walk the room, shaking off the confinement I have felt off the small screen. If I read about extreme spelunking, I, one, think they are mad, two, have to do deep breathing controls and shake my arms trying to free myself of the sensations.
Twenty minutes later, the room is still too warm, the bed too narrow and too short. But I will likely be able to make do and get some sleep. I have also brought along a couple of films and might just realize sleep will not be easy, shove a pair of headphones into my sockets and disappear into something mindless. Sleep might come eventually.
And now my roommate only has to cope with the fluorescent hue of an active laptop and the click-click-click of some insensitive travel companion who is writing a blog entry at two-o-clock in the morning. Some people are completely insensitive.
Note: I did sleep. Deep enough that I feel slightly rested, but I do not want to go through that again.