Thursday, July 28, 2011

why you should always pee BEFORE you get on an elevator in my office building.

I have fear of elevators. No, really. I do. Remember this post? Thank you, Big Brother Geoff, for giving me PTSD at the age of nine. High five.

Fast forward to me, age thirty-three, and when I'm in an elevator I worry that there will be a similar repeat experience of The Great Elevator Incident of 1987 when my brother got us stuck in an elevator and we had to crawl out onto the floor of a nun's convent. "Holy" shit doesn't even begin to describe what I was thinking.

Yes, go read the post. I'll wait.

Done? Good. So, you can see why I'm not particularly fond of elevators.

Here in 2011, you'd think that elevator technology {and the behavior of those accompanying you in said elevator} would have vastly improved. But when you work in the Liberal Arts College of a major university, you remember that nobody cares about the Liberal Arts, let alone their elevators. And for the six years I've worked at my current job, the elevators have been nothing more than Transportational Boxes of Death, or TBDs. 

There are four of them in my building, each numbered with what appears to be a red label from a very large Dymo Label Maker machine. ELEVATOR 1 the label reads, its red ink angry and menacing. We all know that ELEVATOR 1 actually stands for You are going to die when you step foot into this transportational box of death, so you might want to reconsider and take the stairs. Plus, have you seen your thighs lately?

Today, I stepped onto ELEVATOR 4 {Now boarding for Dante's Fourth Circle of Hell, please watch your step.}, having just returned from picking up a salad and Pepsi for lunch from our bookstore's cafe. If you're lucky enough to even get an elevator within 8 minutes of pressing the call button, you then need to rush into the elevator car before the doors smash you flat, which has been known to happen on a regular basis. I mean, those doors slam shut after being open for only 3 seconds. And it really hurts your boobs if you're standing sideways at the time.


I stepped into ELEVATOR 4 and pressed the button for the sixth floor.

The doors closed.

And then the car just stayed there.  Nothing happened. This is not unusual, you see. These TBDs are highly unreliable and very fussy. But I've learned from experience that if you jump up and down and wiggle a little bit, the car will sometimes start to move. And so that is what I did. Only nothing happened.

Next, I pressed the button for the sixth floor again. Still no movement. I pressed the button another time. Still no movement. I flipped the little emergency start/stop lever, which has been known to "kick" the elevator out of a stuck moment. Only when I flipped the lever this time, the doors opened, and do you know what I saw?


If you wanna see me go totally bat-shit crazy and freak out, put me in an elevator and have the doors open to reveal the elevator shaft.  It's about as pretty a sight as a hairless cat getting a honey wax on a hot summer day.

I started to freak. Of course, because we are the Liberal Arts College and have no money, our elevators don't have "Door Close" buttons. So I couldn't even close the doors! I was forced to lay my eyes on that horrible elevator shaft, the image burning into my brain, the PTSD of the Great Elevator Incident of 1987 washing over me. 

I immediately pushed the emergency call button {each elevator had one installed due to the many, many times people were getting stuck in them in our building}. Campus police answered, calm and cool.

"Campus Police," the officer said.

"It's Laura," I said. {As if I call them on a daily basis.} "I'm stuck in ELEVATOR 4 in College Hall."

"What floor are you on?" the officer asked.

"I don't even know, because all I can see is the elevator shaft OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE IN HERE, AREN'T I?"


"I pressed floor six, but I didn't move, so I flipped the little emergency stop lever and the doors opened but all I can see is the elevator shaft...oh, wait the doors just closed. I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING."

"Are you moving?"

"No, but...wait...I don't know...the lights above the door are saying I am but I can't feel it."

And then suddenly the doors opened to the fifth floor. Like magic. Not the floor I wanted, obviously, but I didn't care. I WAS FREE!

"Oh, the doors just opened!" I yelled with glee. "I'm free! I can get out! OH THAT WAS SO SCARY!"

And I didn't even say goodbye to the officer on the other end. I just high-tailed my ass outta that crazy TBD and took the stairs up one flight to my office.

Can you imagine if I'd been stuck in there for, like, hours? And if I had to pee really bad?

That would have been Very Bad Times, Indeed.

1 lovely bits o' feedback.:

callmecupcake said...

Those elevators cut my foot once when I was in grad school. No lie.

I also remember walking into that building for the first time ever, going to meet about my first semester schedule, and thinking "you have got to be kidding me with those. what is this? 1968?"