Spontaneous, as in combustion

Spontaneous: Performed or occurring without premeditation or external stimulus. Having a natural and uninhibited manner.

I'm not natural or uninhibited. And I don't like things occurring without premeditation. On the other hand, if you don't give me enough time to prepare to act natural, I might morph into Quasimodo spontaneously.

A few years ago, while visiting Disneyland, our son informed us about a "great place" in Los Angeles that makes gluten-free pastries that are “to die for." I envisioned a quaint little bakery in the heart of LA. Because it seemed important to him, I spontaneously agreed to ride along, without premeditation, while acting natural and uninhibited.

With GPS in hand, our son drove while our daughter-in-law assured us it would take only about 40 minutes to get there. When the 40 minutes turned into an hour and the sky grew dark, my breathing became labored. I shut my eyes and tried to forget that all the moving metal surrounding us was full of gasoline and could explode into a ball of fire in an uninhibited sort of way.

Ninety minutes later, we were in a maze of buildings where the sky was no longer visible. The windows in the "bakery" were dark. I couldn't see what was happening inside, but I noticed a Kim Kardashian lookalike entering as we approached. My son opened the door in a large sweeping gesture, and I followed Howard inside.

I took two steps and froze. The quaint little bakery was actually somewhat of a nightclub. Bodies were mashing against each other as music pounded — or maybe that was just the sound of blood exiting my head and pooling in my feet. Every woman in sight was dressed — and I use that term loosely — in a micro-mini version of "the little black dress" and stiletto heels that looked more like weapons than footwear.

Howard went right for the baked goods, which were only a few feet in front of me in a polished glass case. But I was quickly moving into a full linear panic. The macaroons were moving away from me while a wall of flesh, like a growing tsunami, threatened to sweep me away. There were entirely too many uninhibited pheromones floating around.

Howard was shouting, whistling and waving at me as if calling an undisciplined dog, when I turned on the balls of my feet and bounded for the door.

Out on the street, I stumbled down the block to get clear of all foot traffic. I leaned against the wall and worked at slowing down the numbness crawling up my arms and legs and settling in my lips and esophagus. By the time my family found me, I was doing much better. My son, who knows what a panic attack feels like, said, "I saw you glaze over and I thought, 'Mom's down!' " So he bought some treats and had them bagged to go. We purchased some cheap Champagne down the street and headed back toward the Magic Kingdom, a place where the only female wearing a mini skirt is Tinkerbell.

Right about now you might be thinking something like, "this woman should never leave her house!" But Oprah has proven that staying home doesn't prevent things from happening spontaneously and without premeditation. She has documented people opening their door to some celebrity, such as Nate Berkus, who was sent by Oprah to their house to redecorate their rumpus room. Surprise, it's Nate! They squeal and jump around ecstatically. I, on the other hand, do not answer the door for celebrities like Nate Berkus, or anyone else standing on my porch without prior notification.

Don't get me wrong, I also squeal and jump around, but only as I look for a place to hide in some corner of my house where I won't be discovered. Put someone on my porch with balloons, and I'll barricade the door.

Spontaneity is overrated and leads to a lack of fair warning, which is a growing problem in our country. And the lack of fair warning leads to an overwhelming need to flee places like nightclub bakeries.

Susan Kay lives in Douglas County.

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