Friday, August 31, 2012

The Elevator

The remnants of Hurricane Isaac are making their way through the Midsouth right now.  It’s dark and drizzly and there’s an almost constant tropical breeze – very atmospheric.  I love weather like this.  It makes the world seem just a little bit creepier, but in a good way.

I work in a multi-story building and park in a parking garage that has me entering on the third floor, from which I take the elevator up to my floor.  This morning, I walked into the building, hit the elevator button, and from the depths of the building, I heard a voice traveling up through the elevator shaft, wailing, “Please!  PLEASE!  SOMEBODY HELP ME! ”

Now, hearing someone in such a state of distress would send a shiver down my spine under the best of circumstances, but with this Wuthering Heights weather and me being dramatic by nature anyway, standing alone in the hallway and listening to a distressed woman scream about being stuck in an elevator somewhere beneath my feet chilled me straight to the bone.

And then suddenly I wasn’t alone in the hallway.

And then suddenly the elevator was opening.

And in the elevator was a maintenance man, and walking up beside me was a man who works on the same floor as me, and up through the elevator shaft came the woman’s voice again.


I literally had goosebumps by this time because she sounded like she was one yell from fainting dead away from fear.  I looked at the maintenance guy, who seemed to be hearing her for the first time, and watched as he…well…as he rolled his eyes.

“What floor are you on?” he yelled down.


“Ma’am!  Ma’am, tell me which elevator you’re stuck in.”

[unintelligible] “I’M TRAPPED!  I NEED HELP!”

The man next to me chuckled a little, the maintenance guy grinned and motioned for us to come in, and then we, you know, just took the elevator like normal people to our respective floors like nothing unusual was going on.  The man from my floor did at one point say, “I guess there’s a woman stuck in the elevator,” and then the maintenance man said, “I should probably call security.”  And all I could come up with was a forceful, “That’d be a terrible way to start the day!” though I could have just as easily been selfishly describing my own reaction as that of the woman who was stuck.

I got to my office and turned on all the lights and got situated, but then I had to go back down to the lobby to pick up the mail and newspaper for the day.  The thought of getting back on the elevator wasn’t particularly enticing, but when I got on, I wasn’t alone.  There was a woman on board who said as soon as she saw me, “Did you hear the woman stuck in the elevator?!”

So we talked about hearing her otherworldly cries for help and speculated on whether or not she’d been rescued until we were deposited on the ground floor and went our separate ways.

I sometimes go whole days without riding the elevator with anyone, and whole weeks without talking to anyone I do happen to ride with, so after all the earlier conversation, I was surprised that when I got back on the elevator to go up, after getting the newspaper and mail, I was joined by a young man who said to me, “Hello!  How are you?”

It’s just so incredibly rare for anyone to initiate small talk…so I said to him, “I’m fine.  But did you hear about the woman who got stuck in the elevator?”

He had not, but he had himself once been stuck in the elevator, but managed to force his fingers between the doors and claw his way out.

“That is so creepy,” I said to him.  He agreed, and then disappeared as the door closed behind me and the elevator took him to a higher floor.

And that was why today was the most interesting elevator day I’ve ever had.


  1. Nothing in the world would have made me enter the elevator O.O

    Annie S.

    1. Haha, I'm still not sure why I thought it was a good idea to jump right back into it. Twelve hours later, it still gives me shivers thinking about her voice floating up from beneath my feet!!

  2. Wow, thats like my worst nightmare getting stuck somewhere like that! Did she end up getting out okay, im assuming she did!

    1. I guess so??! I never heard anything more about it! The totally cavalier way people were responding to it made me think this happens quite frequently, in which case, I don't know that I'm ever going to ever be able to get back on the elevator again without wondering if I'm going to be trapped. Poor woman!!

  3. I'm alive and I'm "live" although I have nothing to say (but it's okay)

  4. :)

    Just sent you an e-mail! (And I'm glad you're blogging!!)