.. between flights 2 and 3
The elevators in our building are a mess. A big mess. Such a mess, in fact, that they have inspired a piece of fiction (or what is hopefully fiction) by a member of our floor. For the last few days one elevator has been down, leaving the other one slow and ornery. Just two day ago I walked down the 7 flights of stairs in impractical sandals. Ok, walked down 6.5 flights of stairs, and fell the remaining way.
This morning, we waited for the elevator, our numbers growing rapidly as the minutes ticked by. It arrived, the button went out, we waited, and then it left again, forgetting to open its doors to pick us up. This may have been a sign, a sign we did not heed.
The second time the elevator arrived, we piled in. Two scientists discussing how their work had been scooped; one scientist holding a tray of cell culture; two other students, chatting about life in general; a lab assistant pushing a cart laden with packages, and myself. Between floors 2 and 3, we stopped. The 3 light did not go out. We did not move.
I have never been stuck in an elevator, and every time this has almost occurred, I have felt a rising wave of panic. This time when the panic started I felt it, acknowledged it, and then pushed it aside, relieved that I was able to do so.
I was the one that pressed the button. I think trying to solve the problem, and perhaps being in charge, was what would keep me feeling safe, in control. The two scientists discussing their work continued on, engrossed in their conversation. The man with the cell culture politely excused himself to return to his spot in back of the elevator, as he had been expecting to exit on the third floor. One of the students started to panic, yelling at me to call “now”. She sat down on the floor.
The conversation with security went something like this: “Hi, we’re stuck in the elevator, Bronk building between the second and third floor”, “Yes, ok, what is your name”, “JW, but there are seven of us, and a large cart”, “Spell your last name”. Spell my last name? This now brought to mind visions of paper-work being filled out, forms being pushed, rules of due process being followed. Not things you want to imagine when stuck in an elevator.
We got ourselves out after a few minutes, ramming the door back and forth to wake up the machinery. I called security again, who seemed to have been patiently waiting for this to occur. It did not sound like he was on his way. And then I picked up a few of the boxes from the lab assistant’s cart, and carried them with her up the stairs. Today will be a day of stair climbing. I’m happy I’m not wearing those sandals.