Have you ever had that dark moment during a rough bit of turbulence on a plane? Or perhaps while choking on a piece of soft pretzel? That moment you think to yourself, "This is it. This is how I go." And then that thought is followed by, "Are you effing kidding me?! THIS is how i go?!" I'm sure you have. I had one today on an elevator.
If you've seen the opening scene of "Speed" or have ridden The Tower of Terror at Disney, you can understand the panic that sets in when an elevator stops and then drops. Today at work, on my way up to the 37th floor the lift suddenly stopped and then fell down a floor. I stood frozen. And then it dropped again. You know the way small dogs look when they're cold? That was me at this moment. Not wanting to wait to see how many more floors I could drop, I pulled the stop button and a piercing alarm sounded. If it was possible, the alarm set me into more of a panic. Alarms are like that person who points out the obvious during stressful situations. "Whoa, this is really, really scary."
Yes, thank you. Idiot.
I picked up the phone and waited for security to answer. Note: Hotel Security guards are in the same category as cops on bicycles. There's an illusion of protection there, but really, who are we kidding?
(I like how they ask.)
-Hi, I'm in the service elevator and it started to fall so I've stopped it.
-OK, please hold.
-Whoa, whoa, wait a second.
-Um, sorry, I'm a little freaked out. What should I do?
-Stay in the elevator. Please hold.
Stay in the elevator?! Jerkface!
So he placed me on hold and the standard Mandarin Oriental hold song started to play. I HATE this song. It is easily the most annoying song in the history of the world, next to the Grease megamix. It starts with flutes and works into a pipa or some other Chinese string instrument that repeats, Ding dong ding ding ding dong ding da do...forever.
This is when my dark thought entered. This is how I go?! With an alarm deafening my left ear, the hold song flute in my right, thoughts of Keanu Reeves flashing through my mind?! Are you kidding me?
The hold song broke.
-This is security, can I help you?
-Um, it's still me. The girl in the elevator, remember?
-OK, please hold.
So by this point the small space, the fear of falling 30 floors, the annoying sounds, and the genius from security had formed a panic combo supreme. I didn't have my cell phone on me but thought of who I'd call. I tried to think of things I should have done in life, but that's hard to do when your legs feel like they're made out of jell-o cups.
Ding Dong Ding Da Do Do Dee Da Do...
-Oh, just one minute, I'll get her for you.
-Wait, who is this?
-It's Jessica! I'm the only one in here!!
So the voice on the other end was this lady from HR who is fantastic and I apologized immediately for yelling and explained that I was going a little crazy in there. She was cool and stayed on the line talking about everything/nothing (my 2 favorite topics) until the elevator guys arrived. So Nice! What's an appropriate thank you gift for that?
3 Things I learned from near death on an elevator:
1) When it's your time to go, try to avoid the sound of a flute.
2) Always carry something to read.
3) There is no tunnel, and there is no light. Just a vision of Keanu Reeves reaching for your hand through a ceiling panel.