Tuesday, December 15, 2009

five photos in five days: photo #3.



Do you know what it’s like to get stuck in an elevator with your older brother? You do? Great.

Do you know what it’s like to get stuck in an elevator with your older brother because he was being a typical boy and pushing on the door of said elevator while it was moving, ultimately triggering the safety mechanism and subsequently causing said stuck-ness? You do? Fantastic.

Do you know what it’s like to get stuck in an elevator with your older brother because he was being a typical boy and pushing on the door of said elevator while it was moving, ultimately triggering the safety mechanism and subsequently causing said stuck-ness, only to eventually push open the door and have you crawl out of the elevator and on to the floor of a nun’s convent? You don’t? Hmm. Too bad.

Because I do.

When our family lived in Mansfield, Ohio, back in the mid 80s to early 90s, my mom used to help run our parish’s CCD program (Catholic Sunday School) at the high school. The high school was enormous, and several floors in the middle of the building were converted into a nun’s convent. Those floors were always forbidden to anyone other than the nun’s for, well, obvious reasons.

On Sundays, my brother and I would attend CCD, my mom busy attending to the needs of the program “behind the scenes.” Once CCD was over for the day, we’d have to stick around while my mom cleaned up. Naturally, for two kids, this left plenty of time to a) get bored and b) remedy that boredom by getting into some sort of trouble.

Hence, the Elevator Situation of 1987.

It’s not like we planned on getting stuck in the elevator. At least I didn’t. Of the two of us, I was definitely the more timid, the more goody-two-shoes, the more Geoff-ohmygosh-what-are-you-DOING-you’re-going-to-totally-get-us-into-trouble! one. My brother, on the other hand, was fearless. And so, he opted to show me that fearlessness that morning in the elevator.

Pushpushpush went his hand against the elevator door as we sped up towards the next several floors. My nine-year-old brain was imagining us plummeting to our young deaths all because of my stupid brother’s fearlessness.

Stop! I squealed. Doooon’t! You’re gonna make it break! He ignored me, his twelve-year-old superhero mentality oblivious to his kid sister’s panic. In his eyes, I clearly hadn’t earned my sidekick cape and costume yet.

And then, ka-clunk! We stopped moving, the elevator frozen in a state of shock not unlike the one I was experiencing.

And so, I started to cry. That’s what kid sisters do when their older brothers do stupid crap that ultimately involves them. I cried and cried and cried.

We’re gonna die! I sobbed. You’re such a jerk! I KNEW you’d break it. Oooooh, we’re gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!!!

My brother, of course, responded with the typical superhero statement: No we won’t. And I, of course, totally didn’t believe him.

So what did he do? He continued to push on the elevator door.

What are you DOING?! I shrieked, waiting for the elevator to drop us to our deaths. (Thus began the making of my alter-ego, Worst-Case Scenario Girl.)

I’m going to get us out of here, he responded coolly.

Pushpushpush. Pushpushpushpushpushpush.

And not less than a minute later, he managed to push open the door, revealing that the elevator was stuck roughly three feet below the actual floor of the nun’s convent. After the panic that we were going to die finally became obsolete, the panic that we were going to get caught—by nuns!—sent me back into hysterics.

Ohmygosh! We’re soooo gonna get in trouble, Geoff! We’re not supposed to BE here! We’re gonna die! We’re gonna diiiiiiiiiie!

We crawled out of the elevator and up onto the floor of the convent, the soft carpet a welcome sign of life, if only for a second. And then, my worst fear.

A nun. Walking by. As we were crawling out of the elevator. Into her home.

She stopped, surprised at the sight before her, and then made her way towards us to make sure we were okay. She wasn’t angry, she didn’t scold us. We told her that we got stuck in the elevator (was omitting the it’s-my-stupid-brother’s-fault part lying??) and that when we tried to get out, this was where we landed. She immediately led us out of the convent via the stairwell (WHY couldn’t we have just taken those in the first place?) and gently wished us better luck next time.

Needless to say, it was a long time before I got in an elevator with my brother again.

with love from Pittsburgh,
Laura

2 lovely bits o' feedback.:

krista said...

i guarantee that wasn't supposed to be the funniest story ever. but i can't stop laughing. does your brother still laugh about it?

L said...

he does, actually. and i'm glad you found it funny! :) i think it's hilarious now, of course, but back then, when i was actually fearing for my life, not so funny.

brothers. they're such an odd species.

xoxo,
Laura