Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nightmare come true

I understand Scaredy Squirrel. I don't make fun of him because of his fears. In fact, I identify a lot more with him than I thought.

At the reading conference (in Detroit), we are staying at a somewhat tall hotel. I have to ride the high-rise elevators to get to my room. And when there's a five and a one before your room number, it's not the fifth floor. (That's 51 for those of you who struggle with math.)

The first ride in the elevator about sent me into a panic attack. It swayed, it went fast, it swayed, it shot like a rocket. Did I mention it swayed? Literally, moving side to side, not up and down the way elevators are supposed to go. I have to have another teacher rub my back so I don't send myself into an all out panic while I await my death in the elevator.

I have begun to brave the elevator by myself. It's a lot easier when there are not 7 other ladies in the elevator with luggage weighing us all down. I just close my eyes and and wait for it to be over.

This morning, I had to ride the elevator to go to the author's breakfast. I pressed the button, heard the ding, and stepped onto the empty elevator. I pressed the first floor button and the elevator car began descending (and swaying). I simply closed my eyes and waited. The elevator began to slow down and stopped at the 44th floor. Doors open and no one was there. No problem. Close the doors and press floor one and off we go again.

But it didn't. It didn't move. The red numbers still said 44. I wasn't moving. Trying to not go into a panic, I pressed the first floor button again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Thoughts spun in my head like a tornado. Can I get onto the stairs? Why am I not moving? I'm stuck. What am I going to do? I can't believe it. I was tempted to push the alarm button in the elevator, but common sense overrode my decision. I decided to press another floor to see if maybe no one was waiting for the elevator. As soon as I had pressed three, the whoosh of the descending elevator occurred again. A silent thanks went up to God. All in all, it was probably only 30 seconds of waiting, but it felt like an eternity.

The doors opened and I was going to try and still get down to the first floor (Starbucks - need I say more?). I heard the mechanical voice say, "Going up," and I raced out of the elevator. I can find the escalator to make my way down. I just wanted to be out of the elevator.

BTW, Starbucks was closed.


Juliann said...

Oh no - and Starbucks was closed! What a way to start your day.

Lennye said...

I'm so sorry the Starbucks was closed! I'm afraid I would need a double latte with a shot of Kentucky burbon.

Mary said...

Oh goodness, I am like you and would have had myself in a tizzy before long on that elevator! And Starbucks closed after that??!! I would have simply laid down on the floor and start crying probably! Hope your day got a lot better!

Tara said...

You did a great job capturing that fear one feels in the presence of a familiar mine about driving on the highway...