Thursday, 15 July 2010

On Being Stuck Between Floors

Today I am grateful that I don't work here.

I don't normally use the lift at work because it's so often out-of-order, which leads me to believe that it must be a death trap. However, on my way into the office this morning I bumped into a colleague [I shall dub her B] who has been on holiday for a week, so I decided to take the lift with her while I updated her on my exciting life, rather than brave the lonely stair climb alone.

The lift was on the ground floor when we arrived; we jumped straight in and pressed the button for floor 5. The lift began to move, only it moved incredibly slowly. Slowly and smoothly. And silently - that's what first aroused my suspicion that something wasn't quite right. The silence. Normally you can hear worrying creaks and groans as it pulls you upwards - sometimes even the odd bang. B said,
"Are we even moving?" I looked through the gap in the door could see a thin line of light disappearing as we left the 3rd floor below us. Then the light stopped disappearing. The lift had stopped, between floors.

In panic, I pressed all available buttons. I didn't care what floor I was taken to as long as I was delivered in one piece, and sooner rather than later. The lift, however, refused to budge, preferring instead to keep us suspended in mid-air [where no-one could hear us scream].

B, I soon discovered, is awful company in a crisis. While I was on the phone to the security desk, she was lecturing me on taking shallower breaths in order to conserve oxygen, which is apparently a very grave concern among people who get stuck in lifts. At this point, it started to get a bit warm and poor B began to feel light-headed because she wasn't breathing deeply enough.

What seemed like hours later [it was actually at least five FULL minutes, during which B spoke incessantly of plunging to our deaths and the risk of decapitation should we have to climb out] we heard Mr Health & Safety shout, "Is there anyone in the lift?!"

The voice of an angel.

"YES! HELP US! PLEASE!" we replied in chorus.

"Stand away from the doors", he said, "I'm going to have to RELEASE THE HYDRAULICS to get you down." We gazed at each other in disbelief, clutching the wooden railing at the side until our knuckles were white. Release the hydraulics? You mean release the mechanism that is holding us in place? ARE YOU SANE? And then the lift began to bounce. I jest not - they had to bounce us down, a metre at a time. They'd release the hydraulics, the lift would drop, stop, bounce like it was suspended on a rubber band, and then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I'd reached a state of such instense panic by this point that my memory fades. Two floors later [read: many, many bounces] and the doors were finally forced open.

We were free. The cool air washed over me, relief was all I could feel. The stairs had never looked so inviting - each step was like reacquainting myself with an old, trustworthy, sensible and safe friend. I was saved. I am never setting foot inside that baked-bean tin on a string ever again.


  1. You know the only reason it happened is because you don't take it normally. It's the way things work... That always happens to me too... not with lifts mind you... but if there is something I NEVER EVER do, and then suddenly one day decide 'waht the heck, it won't hurt this once', whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Yep. Learned my lesson on that one.

  2. LMAO!! (Sorry for laughing. I just love the way you related this story!!!) I felt your relief when you said the cool air washed over you. It wouldn't have been as bad if you were accompanied by someone calmer than B.

    Wait. So you mean, everyday, you use the stairs up to the 5th floor?? That's awesome! I'm forced to use the elevator everyday because, well, my office is on the 12th floor. I would die if I use the stairs every effing day! And if I die, how can I win the lottery and marry Drew next year? Right?

    Oh! You're invited. So don't get trapped on the lift again, okay???

  3. hahaha oh my gosh that sounds both hilarious (as I am NOT the person actually experiencing it) and terrifying! I hope you at least got to get some special attention and to act like the hero that survived this clearly life-threatening event!

  4. Hahaha! That was funny!

    I don't know how would i reacted though if i were you. I might have panicked or just fainted.

  5. @ AmbiguousGeek - I think what you say is true. It's almost as if the lift has been waiting for me, licking its lips, waiting for its chance to ruin my day. And I gave it that chance. Never again.

    @ Gnetch - Hi Cuz. This is true - B did absolutely nothing to calm my nerves and everything in her power to drive me to the point of insanity. You're right about the stairs to the 12th floor - that's too far - especially when you should be wrapping yourself in cotton wool before The Big Day. Thanks for the invite. I shall RSVP shortly.

    @ Kisekae - I know! Unfortunately I was not given a hero's weclome I expected as I arrived, out of breath, in the office. Instead I was accused of exaggerating. In this point I was lucky to have B there because she corroborated my story, otherwise I'd have been branded a liar.

    @ Mish - Maybe I did faint! Maybe that's why my memory goes blank!

  6. This is awesome but you should've got her to make the sex with you. "We're going to die in here, let's fuck it out." Or something.