Most people think getting stuck in an elevator only happens in movies. Most people are wrong. As of today it has happened to me twice and from now on I’m taking the stairs.
The first time I was stranded it happened to be with two drunken men, a claustrophobic and a hot guy. Sounds like the set up to a “walks into a bar” joke doesn’t it? Sadly it was not. Three hours, umpteen choruses of Piano Man and one hysterical fit later we all disembarked more or less sane. I got a boyfriend out of the deal (the hot guy, not one of the drunk ones) so it wasn’t a total waste of time.
This time around I was not so lucky. My coworker, Ian, and I had a meeting which happened to be on the twelfth floor of a building in Chicago. We attended our meeting, shook everyone’s hands and boarded the elevator for what should have been a brief trip to the lobby. The doors closed, I pushed the appropriate button, the elevator began its descent; all was perfectly normal. Until we stopped moving somewhere in the vicinity of the ninth floor.
Both times this has happened to me it hasn’t been as advertised on television and film. There is no jarring jolt, the lights don’t go out, you just stop moving. At an inappropriate time.
We pulled the alarm and a very nice Voice apologized for our issue and assured us we’d be free “right away.” The Voice lied. Twenty-five minutes later I took off my absolutely amazing and very painful boots and sat down. When Ian asked what I was doing I just patted the floor beside me and asked him to promise not to sing Piano Man.
Something about being trapped in an enclosed space for long periods of time makes some people not only chatty, but willing to talk about things they normally wouldn’t. I’m friends with Ian’s brother but only recently met him so our basic interactions have been polite but impersonal. After half an hour of meaningless chitchat about movies, books, etc. Ian dove right into the uncomfortable end of the conversational pool.
“So how long have you known my brother?” he asked.
“About six years or so.”
“Why didn’t you guys ever hook up?”
Where oh where is a brick wall when you need to bang your head against one? I tried my best “drop it” look- which is pretty good- and answered, “Because I was married and he had a girlfriend at the time we met.”
Apparently Ian doesn’t take a hint well. “Huh, well he just got dumped and didn’t you just get dumped? You could date now.”
“Well, you’re both free, attractive, you like each other, and I’m sick of him whining all the time. And since you got dumped too getting together would cheer you both up.”
At that point I was longing for two drunken men and a claustrophobic woman. I was also wondering if Ian’s follow up to this conversation would be to run over my puppy.
“No Ian, we couldn’t date now. People generally aren’t interested in dating again within a few weeks of a breakup.”
Ian actually seemed confused by this concept. Against my better judgment I asked why this seemed so shocking.
“Well,” he replied, “I’ve never had anyone dump me so I guess I don’t understand the rules.”
At this point the Voice announced we were five minutes or less away from freedom. Which is a good thing since I was speechless and still trying to get my jaw off the floor. By the time I’d gotten my boots back on we were moving again. In the lobby assorted management types fell all over themselves apologizing. I really wasn’t paying attention as the fascinating conversation in the elevator had given me a headache.
Ian had no such trouble. “I’ll go get the car,” he said cheerfully, then turning back around he grinned, “you know, this was kind of fun.”
I cannot wait for our trip to Portland.