Thanks to everyone who came to Funny Ha-Ha last night. It was a wonderful show! If you missed it, here's a piece Steve wrote that he read:
Dear Funny Ha-Ha:
This summer I found myself in Norway for 10 days, touring architectural projects there thanks to a nice invite from the Norwegian department of tourism. Now when you hear "Norway," of course you think "fjords" which is 100% correct. The country is littered with them. What you might not know is that, because these fjords are everywhere, most of the time you spend in Norway will involve being driven around on the sides of very sheer, 3,000 ft. cliffs on roads rarely more than a single car-length wide, flanked by small boulders acting as guard rails that, from the seats of the small van you're in, look roughly half the size of your vehicle's tires and there for mere appearance than actual safety. While absurdly scenic, traveling through the country isn't the most pleasant experience for those of us with a debilitating fear of heights. Fortunately, I have fought these battles, somehow lived to tell the tale, and can now share with you some advice:
1) Make sure to bring lots of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with you. While your often day-long, white-knuckle terror will not vanish entirely, by taking the prescribed dosage, that fear will be pushed back just enough to make you not feel like you're losing your mind. It will also help quiet thoughts of escape, calculating the hundreds of miles you'd have to walk back to the airport in Oslo, or how difficult it would be to simply start a new life on top of whatever mountain this is so you never have to ascend or descend ever again.
2) Unless you're directly being driven around one of their million, terrifying, hair-pin cornered roads, it's often difficult to tell your elevation in Norway. Before preemptively taking any Xanax, try and gain the confidence of someone who has been on these roads before, pull them aside and quietly ask them, "Is this next part really scary?" Otherwise, you'll just wind up groggy and heading over a mild, Iowa-flat country highway. If possible, do not pose this question to a native Norwegian, because outside of dangling by their fingernails over a 5,000 ft drop, these people have no concept of a fear of heights.
3) Do not over do it on the Xanax and leave yourself without any for the trip back home. Otherwise you'll spend more than 20 hours across three separate flights in a mild panic, dealing with your other major fear: flying.
4) If you are running low on anxiety medication, do not decide to take a Benedryl for its numbing properties. It will leave you sleepy-frightened. This is exactly like being regular-frightened, it's just more irritating.
5) In the absolute worst case, where you don't have any medication to calm you down or don't want to cut into your supply, I highly recommend getting as far away from the van's windows as possible, so as to not be so close to the gigantic, hungry void below. From there, you'll be able to repeatedly send your wife a series of panicked text messages about how terrified you are. Granted, it will be 3am back in Chicago and you run the risk of waking her up or having her later send you a reply the next morning reading, "Do you know how much these international texts cost?!" but it'll be well-worth it in the end, because it will keep you from falling off a cliff.
Hopefully these things will help you on your next trip to Norway. It's a beautiful country.