I thought maybe I'd regale you with my thoughts as I sat stuck in an elevator by myself for an hour one morning a couple of years ago. We had recently moved our office to the building we're in now, which is about one mile from our former building. I really loved our former building, because it had a little locker room in the bathroom, and I was pretty much the only person who ever used it. So one morning, I had just come from the gym and I decided that I would go to the old building and shower there, sharing the space with no one, rather than showering at the NEW building, where there were always other people. It sounded like the perfect plan. Until I got stuck in the elevator. Yes, on my way up to the 4th floor, the elevator just stopped. Ah yes, a smashing start to a Monday.
After I decided that abject panic and/or crying was not going to do any good, I rang the emergency elevator bell. Not without reluctance, because while I very much enjoy the spotlight, I would prefer it to be in a situation that isn’t embarrassing as all hell and also where I don’t look like something the cat dragged in. More on that later. "Help!" I said. "I'm stuck in the elevator!" Distant voices drifted down to me as the people who heard me sad that help was on the way. Super.
So I sat down, and I'm thinking to myself "Ok, what if the cable breaks and the elevator free falls to the bottom of the shaft??? What if there's sparks and it ignites and I'm trapped??? Oh wait, I'm in between the ground floor and the second floor, so I'm probably out of danger. Though I do bruise rather easily. Even so, I haven't heard a lot about those falling-half-a-floor elevator casualties, so I think I can breathe easy. Breathe easy?? Oh my god, is it me, or is the air getting thin in here? What if the elevator guy takes so long to get here that I suffocate because I only have this little box of air? I mean, how long can you go with only the air that is in this elevator RIGHT NOW -- oh yeah, and the air that I also noticed coming through the crack in the doors. Hmmm. I guess I'm doing ok in the oxygen department. I mean, if all else fails, I can put my mouth up to the door crack and breathe that way. Though that might look a little strange when whoever comes to rescue me gets here – ‘why no, I was NOT french kissing the elevator doors, I was simply trying to get some fresh air.’ Really, this situation just gets more and more humiliating by the minute.”
More thinking. “Ok, so if someone comes through the roof to rescue me, will he let me bring my boots? Those are my favorite boots. I guess I could put them on and leave behind my running shoes, but then again, those shoes were over $100. Oh wait. The elevator will eventually get fixed, whether I'm in it or not, so I think no matter what, I would get to keep both pairs of shoes. So what if the guy who comes to rescue me is like Mr. July in the firefighter calendar? That would be awesome. Wait, no, I haven't taken a shower yet and I just went running. And I slept on my hair funny and my mascara is at the bottom of my gym bag and I forgot to bring lip stuff. Plus, it's pretty dark. I don't know how it would turn out if I tried to apply any sort of makeup in this lighting. Probably not good. Not good at all. Here’s hoping for ugly and/or old and/or married firefighters. Or maybe one hot one who is enthralled by my natural beauty. Hmmm. No -- better stick to ugly/old/married.”
“Why oh why did I think this would be a good idea. This is what I get for being all high-maintenance and in the two years we were here before we moved our office, I've never talked to anyone else on the other floors of this building, and yet now they're all trying to be encouraging -- "hang in there!" and "you're ok!" Not to split hairs here, because I appreciate them not just leaving me here alone, but a) how do you KNOW I'm ok -- what if I had some horrible heart condition or I'm abnormally claustrophobic? I would be decidedly NOT ok if that were the case. And b) Hang in there? Really? Now I’m thinking of that poster of the cat hanging from the tree branch, and I’ve realized that my plight has been reduced to a punch line from a 1970s-era “humor” poster.”
“I wish my cell phone worked, because I’m getting pretty bored in here. Plus, I need to call work and explain to them why not only am I going to be late, but also why I’m going to have to be even later because I still have to take a shower. I’m thinking my boss is going to sigh and roll her eyes when she hears my excuse. Like a couple of weeks ago when I called to say I’d be late because I got lost on the way to the office. That’s right – lost. Granted, our office is in a new place, but it’s practically in the backyard of the old office that I’ve been coming to every day for the past TWO YEARS. And I got lost. See, what happened was I thought I’d miss this one traffic backup and take a detour, only it wasn’t as much of a straight shot as I thought, and well, I drove around for a while until finally I was like ‘AH HA! I know where I am now.’ I was like an hour late. I think everyone just smiles, shakes their head and says ‘it could only happen to Amber.’”
“Ok so what if I have to climb out of the elevator through the roof? And what if while I'm doing that (ever so gracefully, I’m sure), I fall? The paramedics would have to come and again, I hate calling attention to myself for stupid stuff. I swear, going to the gym today has just totally worked me over. Speaking of being worked over, remember in 'Silence of the Lambs' when Hannibal Lecter kills that guy and takes his face and puts his dead body on the roof of the elevator? Oh my god, what if the guy who comes through the roof is a psychotic killer who loves that movie? What if this isn't just an ordinary power outage? What if this is like some sort of plot concocted by someone who loves action and/or horror and/or psychological thriller-type movies involving elevator mishaps? Crap. I'd be screwed then.”
“Hey -- is this thing moving?”