Monday, September 29, 2008 termine tout le lundi

This morning I woke up about 30 minutes before my alarm usually goes off (4:30 a.m.) and had a terrible sore throat, achy body and head and was unable to roll over and go back to sleep for the remaining 30 minutes. I watched a little bit of news, fed Joe and decided to just get ready for work and go in early. All was well with the exception of the sore throat which I looked at and didn't see any signs of Streptococcal pharyngitis but was none-the-less irritating.

On the way to work at the toll plaza, the nicest morning both operator was about to start his shift, "good morning. Your my first toll of the day..." he smiled, "that could either be good luck or bad luck. I think it's good." I smiled back, "it's good luck" and I drove off.

As I got to work, I noticed that no security was around which is odd as I usually see at least one of them as I walk to the building but I really didn't pay any mind. I got on the elevator, hit the button to go to 11 (insert Spinal Tap reference) and began the couple second journey to my office floor. As I came up to my destination, the "11" vanished to a series of several beeps. Not "hello, good morning" beeps, but "oh fuck, something is up" beeps and the elevator stopped.

I would like to tell you that this agoraphobic handled himself like a strong, able to overcome a thing like being trapped in an elevator type of gentleman, but I did not. My first impulse was to blame the maintenance guys who are NOTORIOUS for not looking at the grid and noticing someone is on the elevator and dropping them all back to 1 for spot checks. Perhaps this is done on purpose but how would one prove it? Anyway, this day was different and the elevator was going nowhere.


I rang bells, sounded alarms, yelled "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!" at the top of my lungs, kicked the doors, hit the walls and tried to pry the doors open. I even went so far as to jump up and down to maybe get it to move or trigger something. I just HAD to get out! I was loosing it.

Finally, someone came on the intercom and identified themselves as Dallas Security. "...may I help you sir?"
I calmed down because after all, it wasn't his fault, he wasn't even on site. That and no matter what a situation, being a prick for no reason gets you nowhere. I've got a former friend who could give you an example of that.
"I'm trapped on the elevator"
"How long have you been there?"
"About 10 min so far"
"Are you ok?"
"Yes, but I'm agoraphobic,"
and all the sudden his casual tone turned to one of a little more urgency.
"Stay calm man, I'm gonna get you outta there"

He asked me to hold on here and there and then informed me he couldn't find where I was. COULDN'T FIND ME? We have satellites that can see a gnat frowning from outer space, and GPS available on your toaster but security can't tell from where an emergency call is coming? FROM AN ELEVATOR?!?
I fired off to him any number of things I thought might help him locate me until he finally said he'd pinpointed me and was sending for help.

By this time 20 minutes had passed (a.k.a. eternity in 'trapped in elevator' time) and I was getting hotter and hotter, literally. It's funny but people always assume that elevators are air-conditioned, but think about it... how are they going to air condition a box that goes up and down all day? Can you even imagine the tubing needed for that sort of thing? Get real, elevators on a humid day are mobile ovens and I was baking.

I sent a few texts to Laura because I knew she would be up and tried to stay calm as the walls were mocking my attempts at doing so. Sweat was now dripping of my face and nose and onto my jeans. I played a quick game of pool on my phone when I hear someone.

"...muffle....muffle...blah blah blah"
"I can't hear you, the music is too loud" yes, I forgot to mention that the whole time, the muzak never stopped and anything that was trying to be communicated to me outside the elevator was futility. I had no idea what he said, what was being done or how long I had until I dropped eleven floors to my doom (*word 'doom' used for dramatic effect).

Seconds pass, minutes... and 4 years later the door opens to a skinny hillbilly who looks like DJ Qualls...
"Good morning"
"Thank god, finally" I smile and half expected firemen and EMT's and news reporters along with coworkers and family members to all be present for my release, but it was just DJ, his assistant and the security guard I assume tried to talk to me through the door.
"Thank you I said" and DJ turned around to me and said "you're very welcome" as the he, the assistant and the security guard hopped on a working elevator and disappeared into the dark morning.

The security guard didn't ask if I was alright. He didn't say he was sorry or ask how long I was trapped. It was a lack-luster response to a person with agoraphobia or any person who goes through the uncertainty of something like this. I was glad to be off, glad to feel cool un-stale air again, but the more I think about it, the more I feel I should say something. To whom, I don't know, and what to say, I don't know either.

I do thank DJ for opening the doors and thank Laura for talking me down another way. It could have been worse, but not a super way to start a work week. end all Mondays


Blogger Gypsy James said...

I could be wrong, but I suspect you've got your "Agora" and your "Claustro"s mixed up.

An Agoraophobic is panicked by wide open spaces, so wouldn't be too bothered about the hell that you've been through...

Pedantic Jim....


3:50 PM  

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