Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Elevator

It was 3am and last call had passed,
the bouncers were now escorting the drunkies to the door and the "ugly" lights were shining bright.
Many intoxicated patrons, including my friends and I, stumbled to the elevator that submerges into the underground parking lot and waited for its return.
When the doors opened, we all filed in like sardines, completely oblivious to the weight limit sign on display.
Standing like soldiers, shoulder to shoulder, we were slowly beginning our decent when the elevator slowed to a stop.
I felt my heart begin to thump wildly in my chest.  The Vodka and Red Bull not much of an aid to me at the moment.
Claustrophobia drowned my senses.
I tried not to focus on it, but all I could see was the red digital floor number on display - P3 - not changing.
I could hear heavy breathing, people freaking out, yelling at the poor girl closest to the elevator call button.
I could taste the alcohol vapors in the air, a dryness plaguing my mouth.
I swallowed my fears and tried to remain calm.
I sunk down to the floor, certain that there was nothing I could do at the moment  The elevator was full of many chiefs, and few Indians... All trying to talk to the man on the other end of that elevator call.
It took three attempts at communication with him before the mob in the elevator stopped freaking out long enough to get someone to help.
The man was clearly frustrated with our lack of control and quoted us 45 minutes before our rescue.
Panic ensued.
The movie "The Devil" was in theaters at the time and about half of the elevator's occupants had recently watched it.
I just sat there taking long, deep breaths, hoping that my example might wear off on those around me.
Air became scarce, thick with nervous sighs, and warm from our body heat.
Eventually a few of the manly men pulled with all of their strength to barely crack the heavy elevator doors and allow some cool night air inside the drunk tank.
We were cell mates and this elevator was our prison.
No one could maintain consistent enough cell phone service to make a distress call and morale felt low.
My girl friend, Kim, managed to milk her one "bar" of service to get through to the fire department and within 15 minutes men in black and yellow reflective suits were prying open the doors.
As they extended an arm to lift each one of us out, I was reminded of how precious every moment and every deep, fresh breath of air is!

Looking back now, the elevator experience was a true test of patience and how to react in the face of fear.

Lesson taken!

Here's a photo recount of the night's events!

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