My co-worker, Angie, got a phone call from her very distraught mother. Here is her mother’s tale:
Angie’s mom walked into her office building and to the elevator on the first floor. Her mom is in her late 50’s so she is familiar with technologies such as the phone and the elevator. Being familiar with the elevator, she pushed the button and got in. She pushed another button to go up. A second after the doors shut and the elevator started going up, the elevator jerked to a stop.
She waited for a bit. No movement. She did what all normal people do and tried pushing all the buttons that weren’t red. Numbers. Open door. Close door. (I don’t know why she even tried those as they don’t work anyways.) All the normal buttons did nothing so she hit the red EMERGENCY button. It was the type that makes a ringing sound when you press it, but stops making the ringing sound when you stop pressing it. A doorbell for people who think they are going to starve to death. She hit it again and again for longer and longer amounts of time, but no handsome fireman’s voice came through the neatly drilled holes in the stainless steel.
She was getting worried. Then she noticed the phone in the little glass booth. She was familiar with that technology.
There were no numbers to dial, so she put the phone to her ear. It was ringing. A woman answered. Something like, “Otis emergency elevator service. How can I help you?”
What do you say in situation like that? Me? I’d joke around about sending up a pizza or that they’d better hurry because the elevator was filling with water and piranhas. Basically, you give them the address of the building and tell them you are stuck. It would probably make them happy not to get a prank call.
What did Angie’s mom say?
“I’m sorry. I have the wrong number.” And hung up.
After this, she started to get panicky. And what does a woman in her 50s do when she is stuck in an elevator with no food or water and gets panicky? Why, with the strength of 80 drunken men she wedged her fingers in between the elevator doors and ripped them open! She then put her fingers between the outer doors and ripped them open! The elevator was about 18” above the first floor so she got on her hands and knees and climbed out of the elevator and flopped (the ungracious kind of flop) out on to the 1st floor. A co-worker was the solitary witness to the floppage. He had heard the emergency bell and called for help.
Why hadn’t the help arrived?
Because between the button pushing and the emergency button pushing and the phone calling and the panicking, she had been stuck in the elevator for a total of five minutes.
Perhaps elevators distort time. When the doors shut, time speeds up on the inside while remaining constant on the outside. Different elevators have different levels of time distortion based on how stinky the elevator is and who is in it with you. When I had sex in an elevator, it seemed like hours, but when we got out, only a few minutes had passed.
Angie’s mom made it out with nothing more than a bruised psyche. I have not asked Angie how many days her mom took the stairs until she got over her fear of that elevator.