Monday, October 04, 2004

Stuck

Maybe it has something to do with watching too many Alias episodes, or perhaps it is because after 9/11 as a nation we think differently. For whatever reason, being stuck between the fifteenth and sixteenth floors of my office building was a rather nerve-wracking experience.

Everything seemed to be fine. At the mall level I pushed 16, as that is where I needed to go. I was assigned to car B, and noticed that there were two other people on the elevator with me, one stopping at twelve, and one stopping at 14. We all entered the car, the door whirred shut and the normal elevator ride began. Just like all other days, we watch the big red number change after you hear the car click by the floor. X is what it reads up to floor seven. Then eight, nine, ten, eleven, as it comes to twelve the car slows and the door opens. One of the gentlemen walks out and I press the “door close” button, as it seems to speed the journey. Thirteen, Fourteen, and the other gentleman exits the car. Then the fun begins. The car starts to move, you hear the click of past 15, and then it stops. No noises, no floor 16, the elevator car is just hanging there in limbo between fifteen and sixteen.

I try to tell myself that it made it to sixteen and that it just hadn’t opened yet, but alas, this was not the truth. After pressing “open door” and “close door” to no avail, I decide that indeed I am stuck. This very scenario had always been one of my anxieties of working where I work. The thought of being trapped in the elevator was never a pleasant one. I have worked too many falling elevator problems in physics. It is just common knowledge that if the car were to fall, I wouldn’t likely survive. My mind naturally is drawn to follow many different scenarios out to their completion, and the falling elevator seemed to be the most plausible. Yes, I know that it probably wasn’t, but I was getting panicked.

Upon deciding that I am stuck, I decide that perhaps I should press the “Call” button. I pressed it, a speakerphone was heard dialing a number, and the elevator started speaking.

“Beneficial Life High-rise, Car B, floor 15.” The sentence was repeated four times and then a real voice comes on.

Voice: Beneficial Life Tower, can I help you?

Me: Yes you sure can. I am in elevator car B, and stuck between floors 15 and 16. Can you get me out please?

Voice: Umm… I will get a look at it in a few minutes.

Click.

So, I am there hanging out in the elevator waiting for someone to come and make the elevator car let me out. Still feeling nervous, I decide to call my home and tell them of my plight. My Dad tells me that if I enjoyed being stuck in an elevator that it would be a bad thing, and that maybe I should sit down and write. And write I did.
Some minutes later, the elevator starts making sounds again, and moves up and down a bit. The display queue filled up with repeated red 999’s. I stared to hear clicking from the elevator shaft, and eventually the floor display came back online. It filled my heart with hope that yes indeed; I was going to survive my stuck in the elevator experience.

Finally, the car started to move again, and the numbers counted down to 1. The door didn’t open right off, or on the first pressing of the “open door” button, but eventually I the doors opened and I walked out of the possessed car B. I was stuck in the elevator for a grand total of 20 minutes. It felt like an eternity in purgatory, one that I am not anxious to experience again.

Perhaps in the future I will avoid car B.

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