OUT OF BOUNDS By Geary (Smedley) Leason

Tales of the Trapped!

In August of 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk, following an explosion in their torpedo room, floundered 350 feet below sea level on the bottom of the Barents Sea. One hundred sixteen men were trapped, and unfortunately after four days of rescue attempts failed, they perished.
In the winter of 2014, another sad tale of being trapped tells of a village of 2,500 people, isolated and entombed day after day, week after week, in their iced-in, frozen piece of Arkansas known as Fairfield Bay. Sociologists and psychiatrists studied police and court records trying to understand the mayhem and upheaval that this “entrapment” brought about during this village’s winter siege
Much of the information was very sketchy as people in this age group tend to have short term memory “issues”or, as is more likely, “selective” recall. Realistically, most of these folks just didn’t want to talk about what went on behind their ice-sealed doors.
The experts concluded that all the elements for human meltdown were in place during this entrapment: isolation from neighbors, church families, local dining establishments, grocery stores, all missing from the daily routine; and boredom on the order of the de-ja vu as so humourously dramatized in the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. Every day the same, no place to go, no one to visit, the same iced driveway with no morning newspaper laying about; no mail to send or receive; and no sunshine to melt their prison walls of ice. As endless days of isolation piled up, these trapped citizens, mostly married couples, regressed to the lowest levels of civility as, one by one, their measured habits of accommodation, learned over many years, began to fall away leading to great conflict and strife. Most couples had learned to blend their daily routines as if as they were dancing a polished Argentine tango, learning to not step on the partner’s toes and thus avoid the minor annoyances common to two people living together. In this arrangement, as one partner assumes certain chores while the other is also performing complimenting activities, a harmonious routine is established. While the husband hustles out of bed and starts the coffee and takes the garbage out and gets the newspaper off the driveway, the wife, after applying some soap to remove the night’s “beauty” mask, is up frying up some bacon for the couples standard breakfast together.
But now under entrapment the couple’s highly refined routine is disrupted by the entombment: the very bored wife decides she needs a little more sleep since she stayed up much later than usual the night before watching some smutty movie on Lifetime Movie Channel. The husband, who can’t stand these chick flicks, sneaks off to bed earlier than usual to read a little but soon falls asleep. Now he is up a little earlier at 6 a.m., while his bride of 55 years is still in bed at 9 a.m. The husband now has to create his own breakfast and, being somewhat impaired in kitchen skills, tries to make a bowl of oatmeal, but overcooks it in the microwave and then scrapes the boil over back into the bowl, puts a little sugar and butter on the mess, and this slop is now his breakfast, not the usual bacon, eggs, and toast as wonderfully served by his wife during the good old days before entrapment. The husband starts his day somewhat annoyed.
Several other misfires occur throughout each day, all arising from the disconnect from the pair’s time-tested routines. A crescendo builds starting with snide remarks and mild rebukes, to long and loud arguments and then to bone-chilling threats! The couple’s household soon takes on an atmosphere much like the one so dramatically portrayed in the movie, “the War between the Roses” with Michael Douglas and Sybil Sheppard.. You remember how that story ended!
The fallout from The Entrapment of Fairfield Bay resulted a staggering wave of pressed charges, restraining orders, and divorce proceedings initiated by couples who were married well over fifty years. Once, a hamlet known for its Golden Anniversaries, Fairfield Bay is the village now known for its Golden Divorces, thanks to the winter of 2014!

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