Whether a person needs to do so for medical reasons or just a general desire to check out of the world for a few hours, it takes some guts to be willingly sealed up inside a tube full of sweet, sweet oxygen. Claustrophobia probably isn’t as prevalent as something like acrophobia, but there’s certainly still a large chunk of the planet’s population that would be terrified of finding themselves trapped in a very small chamber, with nothing but the gentle thud of imaginary dirt piling on top of their makeshift casket to keep them company.
According to The New York Daily News, that’s apparently the situation that Laurie Anderson, performance artist and the widow of Lou Reed, found herself in earlier this week. Anderson was reportedly using a hyperbaric chamber—basically a person-sized box that is pumped full of oxygen—at a spa in New York when she suddenly felt “shortness of breath.” She tried to free herself from the oxygen-rich prison, but she quickly realized that the zipper was stuck and that her life had literally become someone’s worst nightmare. She then grabbed her phone and texted a friend, who called 911.
When firefighters got to the spa, Anderson had already escaped and was preparing to leave. Despite being shaken up, she declined any medical treatment. The owner of the spa, which apparently charges between $100 and $2100 for the privilege of being trapped in a small area and then abandoned, claims that the machine didn’t malfunction and “there was a miscommunication on the timing.” He also says that Anderson was only in the chamber for 45 minutes and that she probably “fell asleep and became disoriented.”
On one hand, of course he would say that. People don’t like to admit that the business they run is terrifying. On the other hand, though, a tiny box where nobody can bother you does seem like a pretty sweet place to take a nap.