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Mercury Cafe


Community Support, Panic Attacks, and A Visit to the Mercury Cafe for Drunken “History of the West”



First, it’s Friday night and I’ve spent the day fighting a panic attack. I left work early, laid down on the floor of my bedroom and cried. In a private local women’s group on Facebook, I posted to express my current anxiety and my unease with how to deal. I’m 35. I can’t bang my head into a wall so hard I see stars; though it would certainly shake me out of the madness, it wouldn’t help halt my mounting list of concussions. What can I do during a panic attack that doesn’t require harming myself? As I submitted the post for approval, I heard back from Embur with her address to come see her.


I met Embur back when I first moved here when I had attended an event thrown by the local circus community. If friendship-at-first-sight is a thing, I felt it for her. We’ve crossed paths in smaller settings since that time and shared brief moments of acceptance and admiration for each other. Somehow, I knew I could turn to her. As I made my way toward her place in a few layers including my winter coat and fleece-lined leggings, I was greeted by her on the steps outside her apartment building wearing a hoodie, short shorts, knee-high leg warmers and the barest feet. She took me in and asked me to tell her what was going on with me; she looked me in the eyes and remarked on how beautiful she thought I was; and she talked to me about me moving into a downstairs apartment like I was her best friend and she wanted me near.


She shared what was going on in her life, too. She cried and I laid down against her leg and held her just so slightly that she would know she was safe to keep talking. We didn’t speak too much about our community or about our shared passions with circus even though that’s how we came together. Our sharing of interests in shared space, our sense of community toward one another, developed a foundation for friendship. It made us not strangers in a world of strangers.



Then, it’s Saturday night at the Mercury Café – inside the entrance, I’m greeted with choices: ahead of me is a staircase and on the door to my left is a sign about “the show outside and …