A Witness to Scandal

Last Friday, my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to attend a play put on by the university Theater called, “School for Scandal.”  I vaguely knew what this play was about because I remembered learning something about it in school, perhaps that it was first performed sometime around the French Revolution.  Anyway, we were glad to be going.  I hadn’t been to a theater production since my senior year of high school when my choir went to an annual field trip to a dinner theater in Indianapolis.  We got the tickets for free from our neighbor, the actor who played the main character, Sir Oliver Surface, in the play.  He’s actually becoming something of a friend to us.  I should say, to Won, because he introduced himself first.  I probably never would have.  As I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m terrible at making friends because I hate approaching people first. 

I was very excited to see something put on by the university Theater.  I knew to expect that the production would be high quality, so that in itself was exciting.  I’ve also never been in any of the theaters at the university, so I was looking forward to that too.  We were both eager to see our friend/neighbor in the play.

The one thing I was not looking forward to was the crowd.  When we got there, which turned out to be quite early, we sat in our seat and I got stuck right next to a girl who had some hygiene issues.  Apparently she was a student completing some sort of assignment that had to do with the play and she was dressed in what appeared to be pajamas, while most everyone else was in “business casual”.  She was kind of smelly.  Ok, she was very smelly!  I just scooted closer to Won and tried to breathe through my mouth the entire night.

I hope some of you with OCD can relate to the fear of crowds.  It’s not necessarily agoraphobia, or maybe it is, I’ve just never thought of myself as having it though.  I think it has more to do with the idea of being around so many people breathing in a confined space and me having to touch a chair that may or may not have previously held an ill person.  These irrational thoughts kept popping up in my mind throughout the play.  Every time someone coughed, I tensed up a bit, but I kept my eyes on the stage.  This play required enough attention as it was.  The language was difficult for me to understand and I imagine Won was having trouble understanding too.  Hopefully I wasn’t making that visible expression of disgust that I usually make when someone coughs or obnoxiously clears his or her throat. Who am I kidding? I definitely was doing that 🙂

Whenever I go anywhere to a function where I’m stuck in a room with lots of other people, mostly strangers, I do the funniest thing.  I plan out at least 1 emergency “escape route” in case someone comes in with a gun and starts shooting at the crowd.  This is probably one of the stranger things I do.  This time, I imagined ducking below the seats, and crawling behind the pillars at the side of the theater and escaping stage left.  In reality, I have no idea if these “escape plans” will ever be put to good use or will even work.  It’s funny because my mom says that she does this too.  We have never talked about it out loud to each other until somewhat recently, but we both admit to having done it for quite some time.  I was kind of shocked that she does this too, but we’re so much alike that it’s scary, so it shouldn’t have been so surprising.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the play and I’m pretty sure my bf did too.  I enjoy watching musicals more because of my background in music and my love for singing, but the play was somewhat funny, the costumes were fantastic, and the actors were/are incredibly talented.  Not to mention, it was really fun to see our friend/neighbor acting in the play.  Obviously, he was nothing like he is in real life, which is what acting is I suppose, but it was strange to see him in a different light nonetheless.

Even though I have difficulties with crowds, I think that I was excited enough to actual be going to a production that it didn’t really matter.  I’m glad I went and I’m looking forward to going to more!

Best,

Megan

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75 thoughts on “A Witness to Scandal

  1. I love plays and musicals, especially because of my background in theater and music! Awesome, so glad you loved it! Sorry about your experience with the “smelly girl”, but happy that overall you and Won enjoyed yourselves! 🙂 I have O.C.D., but more so with cleaning, order, details, organization, etc. Though, I would not enjoy sitting next to someone who could use a good shower. Ugh. But either way, you managed to enjoy your night out and get to see a neighbor in a different light, sounds delightful! Come visit me and I will see a play or musical with you. 😉

    1. I wish I would have studied something I love, like vocal performance or creative writing because I am not happy now with what I studied, speech and hearing sciences. I love writing and always dreamed of becoming a writer and going to school for creative writing, but everyone told me that I would never get a job with a degree like that. Anyway, enough of that. I’d love to go to a musical or play! If ever you are in Indiana or I’m in WI, this should happen 🙂

      1. I originally was going to school for music and theater, when I was 19. I was an Inter-Arts Major. But then, I got into two horrible car accidents within 10 months of each other. When all was said and done, I never went back to school and I am kicking myself for it now. But, I plan on going back now for accounting and using my love for numbers because I have a 10 year old son who counts on me. I will however also minor in creative writing. I am going to finally pursue a career in writing. I may not make it, but this is why I will be studying accounting so that I have a back-up plan. I feel it’s never too late to go after your dreams, until we’re no longer here. And yes, if I am ever in Indiana or you’re in Wisconsin, we ARE making plans. 🙂

  2. First off, you had me cracking up about the emergency escape plan, becuase I do the same thing. Meanwhile, I miss out on half of what’s going aound me, because I have a complete escape scenario running through my head. That’s hilarious and also sadly a part of life nowadays. Second, I’m happy that were able to keep your fears at bay and enjoy the program. By taking these steps soon you may have full victory over your OCD. That’s something to look forward too! I know, because my OCD used to be terrible. I had the strangest and completely useless quirks that would delay my going to sleep every night by, at very minimum, an hour. I went to bed angry every single night for years, because of my nightly routine. That’s not to mention the daily quirks that controlled me. I’m so relieved that now, it only comes every now and then. So, keep it up! There is hope to victory!

    1. Haha! I love that 🙂 I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who does this. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are exposed to so many random acts of violence through the media that it feels necessary, to me anyway, to plan like that. Awesome 😉 I have a nightly routine as well and a morning routine too. Come to think of it, I have a work routine too. It gets annoying and I don’t want to perform them, but I feel too much stress if I don’t. It’s like a burden. I’m sure you’re aware of this feeling. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement and sharing that funny commonality 🙂

      1. I completely understand. When I would try to skip my routine, I would end up staying awake in bed thinking about it and would ultimately get up to do it. I felt ‘bad’ if I didn’t and when I would try to avoid it, it would immediately throw me into a mental panic. It’s insane how much control something like that can have over a person.

  3. I am glad that you went to this event. I think you would be surprised at the amount of people that are not comfortable being in a crowd, it is not limited to OCD in any way, shape or form. I can not stand being in a crowd, I will not stand in line for anything. The panic that it causes me is not worth what ever the line up is for.
    As for looking for escape routes, everyone should do that. One should always be familiar with their environment, Know how to get out for what ever reason. I have a real issue about being trapped. I can not travel in some one else’s vehicle, in fear of being trapped there. When I want to leave I need to be able to do so. I have lived my life by not depending on anyone for anything. This way there is no one else to blame when something goes wrong. My biggest fear is being trapped.
    I still am so happy to hear that you went, Enjoyed it and may have helped in over coming some of the issues that you have to deal with daily.
    Brightest Blessings

    1. William,

      It must be terrible feeling like you will be trapped. I sometimes know that feeling. If I go anywhere, I prefer to drive myself rather than carpool because I want to leave when I WANT TO LEAVE. You probably know this feeling. I know a lot of people hate crowds. It’s understandable because they’re no fun 😦
      Megan

  4. Does anybody drive to a strange location twice? Once to be sure you know where it is and then the second time when you’re actually supposed to be there for dinner or an appointment or something? Is this OCD? If so, I’m in the club.
    So glad you “liked” Good Golly Miss Molly and led me to your site…
    Take care…

    1. Well, I would say it might be OCD if you feel a dire need to drive there, like you cannot relax if you do not go to the place twice. Otherwise, I’d say it’s just good sense to make sure the location of a place before going, so you don’t get lost 🙂

  5. I am glad you enjoyed the play. After our series of earthquakes I rarely go in to a building these days without viewing possible safety routes or safe places and I am not yet able to sit in a movie theatre or a theatre. I am not OCD but I suppose I must be a little bit traumatised still. I really appreciate that you write openly about your experiences.

    1. Where do you live? I actually live in Indiana and we’ve had a few earthquakes in the past few years, the largest was about four years ago. It is definitely scary, so I can understand your fears and am sorry that you’re traumatized 😦 Because we don’t have these often, I have to say, it was pretty cool to see. However, I can see why it’s scary. 🙂

      1. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. Earthquakes happen throughout NZ, but the ones in Christchurch took us completely by surprise. I had experienced a few mild earthquakes previously but nothing to match the ones in Christchurch. I am interested to know that you experience earthquakes in Indiana too.

      2. Yes, I remember hearing of the earthquakes in Christchurch! I understand now why you are frightened of them. They were quite devastating if I recall. I’m sorry for the hardships you’ve all faced there.
        According to whichever “professionals,” Indiana lies on the New Madrid fault line, very near my home actually. They say that a rather large earthquake was thought to have occurred hear years and years ago and that we’re due for another soon. I sure hope that’s only here say!

  6. I do the “emergency escape plan” thing, too. When, in reality, I would likely never use it because whoever I was with wouldn’t follow me … and I wouldn’t leave them. (Hopefully that makes sense. Sorry for the clumsy wording. >.O) I don’t like crowds, either, and I definitely cringe when anyone near me is coughing a lot. (Seems like I always end up sitting next to or near the person who is “hacking up a lung”. Ugh.)

    It sounds like you were super brave for going! I’m glad you enjoyed the play. 🙂

    1. Haha, I feel like I’m always net to that guy too 😉 I understand what you mean when you say the other person with you won’t follow. I never share these “plans” with my boyfriend because they just play out in my mind, but perhaps I should 🙂

  7. Since my wife rarely can get to church, I don’t have her natural talkativeness to lean on. Other than during worship service and Bible lessons I say very little. One would think that a person of faith would combat increasing tendencies to withdraw, but I find the struggle very hard…instead of standing in the middle of the floor talking to no one, I often skip coffee fellowship after service. Can’t handle the crowd (and it is a smallish church!) or my own inability to make much small talk. At least during dinners I have my wife to serve.

    1. I understand what you mean. If I go anywhere without my partner, I rarely talk to anyone. When he’s visiting in Korea, I hardly ever go out. I just don’t like to. Going to church on Sundays is a bit difficult for me. Our church has over 1,000 attendees per service, so it’s a bit overwhelming for someone who doesn’t like crowds. It is nice to have someone who isn’t afraid to be the talkative one, though, don’t you think ? 🙂

  8. At least everyone else’s attention would have been just as occupied by the play/escape planning and wouldn’t have noticed any horrified expressions. Good for you for getting out and stepping out of your comfort zone to do so – that is the hardest part, I think, taking those trips into somewhere that pushes your buttons and learning how to manage the triggers.

    1. You are right, no one was looking at me I’m sure. There were enough distractions as it was! 😉 Thank you for the encouragement. I wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end.

  9. Reblogged this on Primerrily and commented:
    OCD has similarities to my CVID illness. People with my disorder have no immunity and when out in the world can get sick and fatal occurances from being exposed to “healthy people” who are just trying to fight off illness. That vulnerability seems to lend itself to similar feelings as OCD. It is tough either way. A different way of looking at the world. It is a very unsafe feeling.

    1. I love that you reblogged this! That means a lot to me. I’ve never heard of CVID prior to your comment. Although the disorders seem similar, there is one huge difference. Because you’re living with CVID you have a legitimate reason to fear disease. My fear is just irrational fodder. You’re a strong, beautiful spirit and I’m so glad that you came by 🙂

  10. The fear of crowds I can DEFINITELY relate to! I don’t think it’s the amount of people that bothers me though, it’s the fact that they’re in such proximity. I always feel like I should tense myself and sometimes even hold a tissue to my mouth for fear of contamination…

    1. Yuck, I know that feeling. Do you ever see those people wearing surgical masks outside? I’m never really sure if they are sick or if they are avoid illness, but regardless, I’d love to wear one whenever I have to be out! Too bad it looks pretty dorky 😉

  11. When I go to concerts or plays I try to choose seats that are on the outside edges or in a box seat. That way I feel free to move if I need to. Part of this is also due to my size. Most seating is ok but without leg room I feel cramped. i always looks for an escape route but I think that’s because it’s prudent to do so.

    As a musician I know how great it feels to sing or play. Going to musicals releases so much tension in me – wonderful feelings!

    Many of us are here together!

    1. I usually sit at the ends too because you never know when you might need to high-tail it out of there. Unfortunately, this time we were given the tickets and i didn’t get to pick the seats 😦 Oh, well, I survived!

  12. We are involved with our community in regards to Volunteer Firefighting. When ever we go out of town…Hubby makes it a point in whatever hotel we are staying to count how many doors and to what side the emergency stair/door is. I use to tolerate crowds. I’m still OK with them I suppose as long as I am with people I know. But I no longer feel guilty if I want to leave early. Becoming a home body. Maybe. Anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. Sorry about the PJ’s gal so folks just have no sense that PJ’s really shouldn’t be worn outside the home. And if you are sick…stay home. Glad you like the play. I’ve never heard of it. I kind of like to go to plays where I can understand the language and well the expense can be a tad overwhelming – even matinees if you want to have a meal before or after the show. We used to go to High School productions. But when you can see something in the comfort of your own home…and not have to worry about poles or hats or big heads….then really, what is the benefit of going out? Maybe if you like to dress up. But that’s not me either.

    Be well and thanks for visiting me.

    1. I love this comment. Very funny 🙂 I’m definitely a home body too. If I could, I’d stay at home all day every day. I don’t disagree with you there! It’s probably a smart idea to know where the exits are wherever you go, just as a safety precaution. You never know what’s going to happen. 🙂

  13. I remember watching something in the Playhouse in my town and someone smelt very strongly of wee. It was disgusting! I couldn’t figure out who it was but it definitely ruined the show for me. I understand that some people have difficulties looking after themselves but when it’s down to laziness I can’t help hating them! I’m glad you enjoyed the show otherwise though. I always plan a simple escape route but I can see myself planning an elaborate one next time I go anywhere! xxx

    1. Guh, I can’t imagine if someone smelled like that 😦 The girl smelled strongly of B.O./onions, but not pee, goodness! I don’t get it. I guess I’m just so obsessed with being clean all the time that I can’t imagine being lazy like that.

      Haha, planning an escape route 😉 More people do this than i thought!

  14. I’m an IU alum – not in Bloomington anymore though – what a beautiful area! What a wonderful coincidence! Way before you, but still. And I do the same thing – look for emergency ways out of everywhere. I just pretend that I have courage until I do. I love the quote by Georgia O’Keefe – she said something like – I’ve been terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it stop me from doing anything I wanted to. Sending a cyber hug to you!!

    1. IU and Bloomington are both beautiful, fun places to live. I love the cultural diversity here probably most of all. I agree, I doubt I’d have the actual courage to put one of these escape plans into action, but you never really know until you’re put in this situation 😉

  15. I’m not OCD, but I scan the exits of pretty much any place I go into and have at least one exit strategy. There’s no motivating reason for this, it’s just something I do. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert.. The more people, the more escape routes I find. 😉

    I’m not a fan of the “collective odor” of crowds.. Given what you’ve described here, I suggest never riding on the subway. The subway in Boston is actually quite clean in comparison with parts of New York, but still isn’t all that.. Sanitary..

    I’m glad you liked the play. My wife and I love live performances of pretty much any variety. For her birthday we’re going to see the Boston Ballet. It should be a great time. 🙂

    1. I went to Boston in 2011 and actually rode on the subway 🙂 It wasn’t bad at all, but that didn’t stop me from practically holding my breath and holding onto a pole with my pinky finger, needless to say, that didn’t keep me from falling over. Then again, I was a bit tipsy after taking the Sam Adams brewery tour, in the morning! Good way to start off the day 🙂 You’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful, historically rich city.

  16. Glad you enjoyed your play! 😀
    I live in a location where terrorist attacks are common, but we don’t let it ruin our lives. What we do is look for escape routes whenever we go to any event outside our home. We even have escape routes in our home! It’s a sad but common thing these days. I’ve gone as far as observing the windows of the buses I ride in to see if I can squeeze my way out! 🙂
    Is constantly counting my footsteps an OCD trait? Or the number of times I scoop anything from anything??? Just wondering! 😀

    1. I can’t imagine living in that kind of fear day in and day out. You must take a lot of caution wherever you go. I’m sorry that people are so cruel in this world and even sorry that such a beautiful spirit is surrounded by them.

      OCD manifests differently in everybody. I can’t say yes you have OCD or no you don’t have OCD with a certainty because I am no professional, but the repetitiveness of the behavior does tend toward OCD patterns. Do you ever feel like you HAVE to perform these behaviors?

      1. Yes we do take a lot of caution, but most times we get lost in the moment and just have fun! I guess that’s what really living is all about – enjoying the moment even if it could be your last.
        It’s not so much having the need to count, than doing it just spontaneously, and then not being able to stop. Sometimes I hear myself counting before I even realize I am. Again I feel the need to count my steps in order to slow down, cause I can walk pretty fast! Then how else would I know the adequate proportion of my meal if I didn’t count it? Those are a few examples…

      2. I see what you mean 🙂 As long as it’s not hindering your life in any way, then I imagine you are doing well. Your life sounds vivid and inspiring 🙂

  17. I think it’s awesome that you were able to attend and enjoy the play despite truly unfortunate seat neighbors. Believe me, you’re not the only one who is upset by bad hygiene and germ-spreading coughers and sneezers in crowds. Honestly, people in large crowds are gross more often than not!.

  18. I noticed the ticket stub from the UI in Bloomington. Ironic, a good friend of mine just left to open a bicycle shop there a few months ago. (Salt Creek Cycles) Small World. 😉

  19. Wow – I’m amazed to read that you went to see School for Scandal. I studied it a few months ago as part of my English degree, and I love the plot and the way that it so clearly satirizes high society of the period. Great post!

    1. I honestly don’t usually enjoy sitting through plays, but it was interesting and the plot was actually funny, not family guy/the office funny, but like you said, satirical, which is great on its own. 🙂

  20. Hi Megan. 15-20 years ago, I struggled with crowds. It was so bad if I went into a crowded restaurant, I would leave. Eventually I saw a doctor who prescribed me Paxil to help calm me. I took one pill during an award show I had to attend. During the show, I came to realize everybody is uncomfortable with crowds. Everybody is uncomfortable meeting new people. Everybody feels socially awkward at first. And it’s normal. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with you or anyone else who feels discomfort.

    I never took Paxil again. And it took a few tries to get used to feeling uncomfortable. But now I know it’s in my head. So I can handle it and any crowd.

    Good luck!

    1. It sounds like you had a bad experience with medication, but you came to understand something great about yourself. I hope I too can come to an understanding like that.
      Best
      Megan

  21. I enjoyed this post a lot! I am a touch OCD and it’s definitely worse this time of year during flu season. I can totally relate to the escape plan but in a different way. I used to have such terrible panic attacks that I would feel like I was going to lose my mind or have a heart attack so I would go through my plan of what to say to the helpful strangers when they found me on the floor passed out or hyperventilating. Usually my fantasy also involved a straight jacket and doctors with syringes but thankfully none of this ever came to fruition!

    1. What you say really hits home. Flu season is the worst time of year for me. I actually wish that I lived on a tropical island of my own somewhere (who wouldn’t!) just to escape that fear forever. It’s great that you’re doing well and I’m glad the straight jacket never came after you 😉

  22. Loved this … I plan escape routes out of places as well. And I hate crowds (on a bad day more than 5 people is a few too many) – I have to steel myself to deal with them and smile through gritted teeth. I’ve learnt to deal with it otherwise I miss out on so much wonderful life! Not sure whether its due to being an extreme introvert or my OCD (which emerges in the form of liking order – you can tell my stress levels by looking at the pegs on the washing line. If they’re not only matching on each item but gradiate from one colour to the next (blue to green to yellow etc), I’m stressed! But it makes me less stressed 🙂 ) Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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