Useful as they are, I’ve never trusted an elevator.
Here we’ve got this metal box in a shaft controlled by a fallible computer system suspended by machinery that requires consistent maintenance. There is a weight limit posted above the squeaky doors, but who knows how accurate that is.
I feel like most of those certificates they post claiming the elevator passed its examination are outdated by a decade. Anyway, we pay about as much attention to those certificates as we do the Terms & Conditions we blindly agree to on the internet.
The floor is sticky. The handrails are dirty. The lighting is awful and the occasional mirror-lined walls only make me feel more claustrophobic when I’m surrounded by clones.
Obviously whenever I can, I choose to take the stairs.
However, elevators do happen, especially when you’ve got work on the fifteenth floor and you don’t want to lug a briefcase and a belly full of Krispy Kreme donuts up a billion steps.
One good thing about elevators: those cables that control the fate of your life, every elevator has about five or six cables and each one of them, independently, can support the weight of the elevator. So barring any Dennis Hopper terrorist activities, you should be fine.
There is still the chance that your elevator will simply malfunction. One second you’re humming the theme song to Reading Rainbow, next thing you’re stuck between the eighth and ninth floors with a panic attack.
I imagine being trapped in an elevator is a lot like how Richard Dreyfus felt in the shark cage when Jaws was gnashing at the bars. Or maybe it’s closer to how Dave felt stuck outside of the spaceship, asking Hal to open the pod bay doors.
Hello, Elevator, do you read me?
I’m sorry, Chris, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
What astonishes me the most about this idea of being trapped in an elevator is how aware I am of its likelihood. Yes, the chances are low, but I’m not going to pretend like it’s not common. One day it will happen. I know it will. I better face up to that fact now, rather than let it blindside me at 5:45 on some quiet winter evening.
I think there is value in accepting such truths.
We shouldn’t fear the inevitable because the fear is futile. One day we will get stuck in an elevator, as sure as we’ll pay our taxes to the man and recycle our body to the earth. I think it’s time we consider how we’ll react when that moment comes.
Hopefully, with foresight, the panic will be subdued. Remember: those cables are strong and you’re not going to plummet to your death. All you have to worry about is starving or dying of thirst. But that takes time. Chances are, you’ll be rescued in less than an hour. Maybe.
It will be a good time to think about your life. I can imagine myself running through the list of all the little things that had to happen in my past that led me here, to this building, to this moment with this elevator. Imagine how different my day would’ve been if I’d skipped on the half-dozen original Krispy Kremes.
Maybe you’ll have a book. Maybe you’ll have companions with you. You’ll probably have cell signal, so you can always post dramatic Facebook updates and post photos of your rapid deterioration as the hours drag on.
This will be a good story.
Just sit tight. Help is on the way.
When it’s all done, you’ll feel as fresh as a sixteen year old with a learner’s permit. If getting stuck in an elevator is something that everyone has to do once, then you’ve checked it off your list. Congrats. Now, just hope this doesn’t happen to you: