Keep running. Don’t look back.
As you sprint away from the hatch, scan your surroundings for any sign of stone pedestals and shiny red buttons. Find only grass, trees, and assorted packs of people picnicking, tossing around Frisbees, and otherwise enjoying a fine summer’s day in what appears to be a well-appointed park.
Slow your pace. Take a deep breath. You’re safe for now.
Fire up Netflix and treat yourself to an extended marathon of The Great British Bake Off. Learn all about various types of sponge cakes. Form opinions about batters, icings, and soggy bottoms. Become deeply invested in the individual contestants and the outcome of the competition.
Take a break from your marathon to grab a beverage. Walk into the kitchen only to find a single, bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and an old stone pedestal with a shiny red button atop it standing in the middle of the floor.
Do not press the button. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus. You’ve been here before. You’ve pressed the button before. You don’t want this…
Purchase several hundred dollars worth of board games, card games, and jigsaw puzzles. Wrap each purchase in Christmas-themed wrapping paper and carefully pack them into a red velvet sack.
Dress in your Santa costume, throw the sack over your shoulder, and head to the nearest senior citizens’ assisted living facility…
Hop in your car, fasten your seat belt, turn on the radio, and head toward the sunset. Let’s face it, whatever you were up to before this moment wasn’t all that great. This is better.
Your car is your personal anonymity device – you get in and you become no one. You don’t have to pretend to like your job, your colleagues, or your friends. You don’t have to pretend to be smart or confident or likable. When you remove yourself from the context of work, home, or relationships, you’re kind of nobody. Right now, you’re just another nameless driver on the road.