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The Man on the Roof and My Growing Anxiety

Well, I made it through JFK TSA.

Hundreds of people moving at a snail’s pace, crushed together like ants moving up a hill, with a mixture of languages breaking the chaos or perhaps adding to it. Then came the crush of people that followed after, taking off their shoes and putting their electronics in bins and moving through scanners.

The whole thing was overwhelming- especially compared to how quick it is at Reno-Tahoe. I spent the majority of my multiple hours in the mezzanine, walking back and forth before finding a seat and staying for a few minutes and then getting up again.

Eventually, I took a seat in the small area near the Starbucks, and midway through trying to work on a novel, I looked up in time to see a man make his way across the roof in front of me, luggage in hand. He waltzed along like he knew exactly where he was going without a care in the world.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the other side of the window, watching him meander across the roof, internally freaking out at the sight of a man with a set of luggage on the roof. A thousand questions began running through my head, most prominent being, How the fuck did he manage to sneak up onto the roof in the first place?

In minutes, three security guards made their way across the same roof, following him clear to the end, when he turned and I couldn’t see him anymore. I don’t know what happened to him, if he had a mental breakdown or attempted suicide, or what, but I spent a good portion of my time after he and security had vanished running through possible scenarios in my head. Don’t ask me why the whole affair captured my attention, I couldn’t tell you, except to suggest that maybe it was because I’d never seen anything like it before, and didn’t even know roofs were accessible.

Maybe it’s because I’m running on nothing but processed sugar and caffeine for the last twenty-four hours or so, maybe it’s because I’m terrified that I’ll be sent home at the Belfast airport again, like I was last time. Maybe it’s because I haven’t slept, and so my mania has decided to take up a good slice of my time.

I really can’t give you a straight answer. All I know is that it freaked me out in so many ways, and it took two calls to my therapist on top of an already building panic attack to get me to calm down enough to focus on anything else.

I still haven’t calmed down much; I’m running on exhaustion, and that’s a bad thing. But now, that just means that I can focus on stressing about the flights to London and Belfast.

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