Thursday, April 17, 2008

My worst nightmare

...getting stuck in an elevator alone.

I know it's irrational to be afraid of elevators. I am queasy about being in a closed space, anyway, like a subway tunnel, but I gain courage through the presence of other people. Surely the Powers That Be would not allow a whole lot of people to be stuck in an elevator or subway car forever, but if it was just me, who would miss someone as insignificant as me? Nobody, probably. My children would probably wonder what had happened to me, but would eventually conclude that I had run away from home to live in the deep woods under the name of Sanders, as I am always threatening to do.

I would be alone with my soul, and that's not enough company. Even one other person, unless he were a paranoid schizophrenic with violent tendencies, would be a comfort. We could play geography, me and my sole companion, or talk about what kind of a meal we would eat when we got out. We could speculate about what was keeping our rescuers, and grumble about the kind of help you get nowadays. We could tell each other long boring stories about trips we had taken. If there were significant light in the elevator car/tunnel, we could show each other pictures of our grandchildren. It would be boring, but the time would pass.

I once spent a month in a hotel where the elevators didn't work half the time. It was owned by a fellow named MacArthur, the very same man who died and left his fortune to be spent on genius grants. This hotel had exceeded its shelf life, and should have been torn down years before. But MacArthur was a rich man and could indulge himself as he pleased. The air conditioners kept breaking down as well. In the summer. In south Florida. Maintenance crews were always trying to fix the air conditioners, with limited success. And so it was with the elevators. MacArthur also allowed millions of ducks to pollute the grounds of his hotel. But I digress.

It would not have been prudent for me to hole up in my room for a whole month, so I conceived a strategy for riding in the elevator. I packed my bag with books, magazines, and the newspapers, and when the elevator stalled I just hunkered down and caught up with my reading. Fortunately, the lights never went out during my stay.

1 comment:

dick stanley said...

Elevators. Yech. I even have bad dreams about elevators. Usually tilted, with one corner ripped off, exposing the loooong shaft below. Awful.