I am writing this post about 2 hours into the projected 3 hours of my day spent stuck in an elevator with 8 strangers. Definitely not a pleasant experience, but for a busy week and being basically sardined in here in the first place – these hours seem an eternity.
I was headed down from the 12th floor after meeting with a new client. The elevator stopped on floor 11 to pick up a bunch of folks, doors closed, elevator started and then stopped and then … nothing. No sound. No movement. No nothing. The people nearest the panels tried pushing buttons to make it go or the doors open, but still nothing. Finally after a couple of minutes of silence (probably hope and prayer that this would not turn into the a long siege) the guy pressed the call button to let them know the elevator was stuck. Full of people and stuck. By the time they checked back in a few minutes later to tell us maintenance was notified and would soon free us, it was an elevator full of increasingly irritated people.
But what can you do? I seriously doubt they are dragging their feet about getting the elevator working again, espeically one full of people on a Wednesday during peak business hours (stall happened right around 10:00 a.m.), so complaining and bitching at the nameless, faceless voice in the speaker will not inspire them to make the repairs faster. The situation is frustrating, because I have things to do and appointments scheduled myself. I texted the client I had planned to have lunch with across town – sorry, I am stuck in an elevator downtown; want to reschedule? – and read my email and tried to not become more annoyed with those around me. Really, I started this post to avoid speaking to my fellow captives. There is no point in getting upset, yet there the anger and frustration is coming off these people in tangible waves.
When this car starts moving again OR the doors open for our release, I will be as relieved and as happy as everyone else. It will be so good to be out of this tiny little box with the simmering emotions from the Type-A-on-steroids business folks. I have always classified myself as a type A-minus to B-plus sort of person depending on the situation, and this is definitely not a situation I would get all upset about. These things happen.
Probably 15 years ago I was stuck in an elevator for a similar period of time. On a Sunday. Alone in what appeared to be an empty office building. The nameless, faceless voice on the other end was pleasant, professional, sympathetic, checking in with me every 15 minutes or so during the entire period. I spent the time chatting with my husband, kids, and friends on my cell phone. I was very thirsty when I was finally released – and I took the stairs from to the third where our offices for the remaining 2 years I spent at that firm after that experience.
Maybe that’s the lesson for me in today’s adventure – better to take the stairs. I probably need the exercise.