October 25, 2007

Trapped in an Elevator

I wish that the title of this post was a lead-in to a witty non sequitor, a metaphor for a wasted life attempting to alternatively claw my way to the top of the corporate ladder and glide past all those nasty steps at the same time, or even a pithy euphamism for sexual intercourse, but alas, none of those apply at the moment.

I got off of work about 5:15pm this evening, wandered into elevator car #7, hit the button for the first floor, felt the familiar lurch as the elevator started to move and waited. The elevator ride at work is usually a very smooth one, so my first hint that something was amiss was when the doors hadn't opened after a few minutes.

I checked my watch and after five minutes had passed I opened the callbox door and pressed the emergency call button. A horrible-quality recorded voice informed me that they knew where I was and that someone would be on the line shortly.

A few moments later, a nice lady picked up the line. After I relayed my location, she asked if I was alright and if I was alone, and I answered both in the affirmative. She asked me to press and hold the "door open" button for five seconds because evidently in some elevator models, that makes the broken lift suddenly functional. This wasn't one of those models.

She asked which floor I was on. I said, "I'm on one of the express upper tier elevators, and the sign says I am on floor 'X,' so I must be somewhere between ten and one.". She said she'd call building security and hung up.

I stood there and in the silence I could hear the other elevators around me, merrily dinging and whirring away as they ferried their passengers up and down as they were designed to do. Meanwhile, mine was acting like a stubborn child refusing to follow the most simple instructions.

After fifteen minutes of not doing anything constructive, I checked to see if this was one of the cars where you could get cell service. I was expected to meet up with my wife later, and the inability to catch up to her because I was incarcerated in a 6'x8' cell an indeterminate number of feet off the ground tends to hamper one's ability to keep appointments. Unfortunately, there was no service.

A few times, I thought I heard a voice on the other side of the doors and called out, but there was no reply.

To attempt to occupy my mind, I sat down in the corner and played a few card games from Magmic Games on my BlackBerry, the entire time mentally lambasting the company for caring enough to animate card dealing but not caring enough to properly handle their menus after completing a resumed game or even handle the red "hang up" button from in-game per the interface requirements. Time trapped in an elevator goes so much more quickly when something else is wrong that you can fixate on.

After 40 minutes had passed, I called again to see if there was an ETA on being helped. The gentleman who answered said that the repairman was on his way and that he'd be there "soon.". I marvelled at his ability to vocally put quote marks around the word "soon" and resumed my wait.

After almost an hour and a half of being wrongfully imprisoned by a counterweight with a superiority complex, the doors opened a half of an inch. I peered out to see a short dude with a salt-and-pepper beard and the evening security guard. They asked if I was all right, then asked me to wait about five more minutes. Ten minutes later, the doors slid open. I was so happy to be free that I stepped through the doors just to have them close on me. Not "close on me" like the doors were being cockteases saying, "Ha ha, you can't get out...shoulda been faster.". They closed on me closer to how a Venus Flytrap closes on a meal. After a brief yelp of pain, I was able to extricate myself...onto the floor I started on.

I hopped on a different elevator, went down to the first floor and called my wife while I waited for the security guard. Once I gave him the information he needed for his report, the maintenance man told me what happened. The elevator goes up just slightly before going down, but this time it tripped some circuit and thought it was travelling down to the ground floor when in all actuality it remained two inches above the floor it started on.

So now I am sitting on a bus heading to the train station. To my left is a woman sobbing unconsolably because her boyfriend broke up with her via her cellphone tonight. Everyone else is pretending to ignore her while she is trapped in an emotional elevator waiting for the release that only a good cry brings. I guess I was able to turn this experience into a crappy metaphor. All I needed was the right motivation.

3 comments:

Sam Kalman said...

Oh my I'm so sorry! Too bad your wife wasn't with you when this happened. Then you could have re-enacted a certain Aerosmith song...

In all seriousness, glad you're ok!

Kevin said...

Seriously, stay in Dallas! Do not return to Utah! ;)

I think we're all safer with you hundreds of miles away. j/k.

Glad you're ok!

K

Sarkie said...

Pop quiz hot shot...