It only takes a second to materialize, but that second in time seems to take forever.
It’s the moment upon which you realize that the elevator you have entered, is malfunctioning. You are stuck.
If you are claustrophobic, it’s probably your worst nightmare.
If you have diarrhea, it is probably a picky dilemma.
Luckily for me, I suffered from neither of those conditions. I was however, stuck in the elevator for twenty six minutes yesterday and as you would expect, ran through a gamut of emotions and thoughts.
For those who have never experienced such an event, this will prepare you for the inevitable. For those of you who have been stuck in an elevator before.. well, we can hold hands and face the past together. I’ll bring donuts to the next survivors meeting.
Let me take you through the steps.
Step 1: Denial
As with all problems, denial is the first emotion you have to get past. I tried pressing all the floors, tried using my security card. Tried different combinations. Tried to pry the door open. All failed. It always fails. You have to accept the fact that of all the people the elevator has properly transported today, it has chosen you to be it’s passing victim. It’s a breach of trust, and you’ll never fully recover.
Step 2: Reaching Out for Help
I’m one of those stubborn people who hate asking for directions when on vacation and hate to ask for help from strangers. It might take awhile to realize that this is an issue you cannot solve on your own, and you just have to suck it up and press the little red alarm on the elevator door. From that point forth, your only contact with the outside world will be this anonymous voice. He’s your only hope. For me, I started thinking about the movie SAW. I also realized Dennis Hopper was dead. So I was safe from any Speed like shenanigans. I probably watch too many movies.
Step 3: Survival
While some might think it’s over preparing, you never know how long you will be stuck in such a situation. The anonymous voice on the other end might not have been your saviour, rather some random passerby having their kicks speaking to you. What if something were to happen to this man before he called the elevator technicans? What if he had a heart attack? Then you would be stuck a lot longer then you think. Preparing for the worse, I checked my man purse for any sort of provisions. Much to be my dismay, I was ill prepared for this sort of scenario. As record shows, this was all I had:
I have nine pieces of gum left. 22.5 calories total. I’m going to look like Christian Bale in the Machinist if I ever get free. #freericky
— panicmanual (@panicmanual) May 8, 2012
Which led to this
are chapsticks edible? #freericky
— panicmanual (@panicmanual) May 8, 2012
Desperate times calls for desperate measures, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to resort to this:
Lesson learned: Always keep food on you.
Step 4: All Hope is Lost?
Once all the logistical items are figured out (what you have to eat, which corner of the elevator to shit/piss in, etc), you will then have some time to reflect. You start to wonder..what if a nuclear war erupted when you were stuck? What about an alien invasion? I distinctly thought of the scene from the end of Terminator 3 when John Connor was stuck in some random place and the world ended.
In this time along, you may have many dark thoughts. Embrace it, you might learn something about yourself.
Step 5: Rescue/Salvation
Just when all hope is lost and you have just about given up, the technicians arrive and free you from your metallic prison. A wise man once told me “The night is darkest before the dawn”. I’m not sure if that’s true, but when those doors get pried open and you see the wide eyed faces of the technicians, you finally realize what freedom truly is. You are no longer bounded by those four walls. The sweet air will never smell so good. Food will never taste fresher. Cherish this moment forever.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was only stuck for twenty six minutes, but in that time, I learned a lot about life, myself and how I would handle future crisis. I also played a few games of Draw Something. Either way, I hope this article will help you deal the next time something unimaginable happens.