Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Elevator Fear

I don’t have many fears. Sky diving…. check. Scary movies… check. Tattoos and needles… check. Public speaking… check. Small spaces… well that’s another story. I am extremely claustrophobic. To the point that when I’m in an elevator I need to focus on one thing, whether it be a conversation or a spot on the wall; or as Hunter S. Thompson has put so well, the fear sets in. For reasons unbeknownst to me I developed this ridiculous fear later in life. I’m guessing this is God’s way of punishing me for all my sins (too vast to list here).

Yesterday, after a crazed day at work I was ready to get home and relax. I had a few errands to run before home and I left my office around 5:15. As I stepped onto the elevator with the four of five other people that were waiting the lights began to flicker. It was so faintly as I appeared to be the only one that noticed. My heart skipped a beat as the doors closed. We descended about two floors when there was a slight jolt and the elevator came to a standstill. As everyone rolled their eyes out of annoyance I began to sweat and hyperventilate. For someone that suffers from claustrophobia your mind immediately jumps to death. I knew any second the cord was going to snap and we were all going to plummet to our deaths. My chest felt like I was being crushed and I began to see black spot as the small space of the elevator got smaller and smaller. Just as I was apologizing to God for all those sins I mentioned earlier the building’s Fire Marshall came over the loud speaker announcing a generator problem with an estimation of a few more minutes before the elevators would work again. By this point I’m thinking to myself - Oh how f’ing wonderful! Not only have I convinced myself of impending death but I’m also making a fool out of myself in front of these senior executives I’m trapped in the elevator with.

Finally after the longest 20 minutes of my life, the lights flickered again and we arrive safely at the thirtieth floor. That’s right, not the ground floor - but the f’ing thirtieth floor. Just as I’m contemplating base jumping out of the window here comes our good ol’ Fire Marshall over the loud speaker again confirming what I’m dreading. The elevators are out of service for a little while and everyone must use the stairs. So not only have I just had one of the worst panic attacks of my life I’m now being forced to walk down thirty loooooong flights of stairs. Needless to say I ended this adventure with a big glass of wine (if only I had a Quaalude) and some mindless TV.

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