Elevators are an invention. A way to assist in moving vertically with minimal effort. Or if you are physically unable to use stairs, which, in that case, this post is not for you. As a mildly claustrophobic person, you can imagine that elevators are rarely my first option for getting between floors in a building. While I do regret saying this to the whole world that is the Internet, and thus, is forever, I am a stairs first kind of kid.

Stairs have a lot of advantages over the metal death box that is the elevator. For one, it will never fail on you electrically. It will never stop unexpectedly in the middle of the ascent, or descent. It will continue to be the emergency exit route in case of fire … or when you find out there’s a BOGO at the taco truck down the street and you need to get in line yesterday. It will always be a better form of exercise. It will not require awkward silences with strangers. Overall, a solid option considering there are usually only two at any given time.

I think now is a good time for emphasizing my point. Stairs will never fail on you electrically and they will never stop unexpectedly in the middle of the ascent, or descent. Elevators, however, will and do. At a shockingly high rate. Their stability and built-in “safety” measures for when you shift your weight from one foot to the other way too quickly leave a lot to be desired. And in case it was unclear from the title of this post, one of my nightmares came true recently and I got stuck in an elevator. Not even a nice, big service elevator either. Just a standard hotel, can maybe fit 6 people pre-COVID, elevator.

Never have I met someone who has wanted to get stuck in a confined metal space with minimal decorations and no cell service, so I have to believe everyone can relate to my rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions, and panic, during my 90 minute experience. To truly pull you into my mental state, I would like to set some initial background context. I, thankfully, had my significant other with me, but it was just the two of us. It was late at night. We were stuck in between two floors and thus hanging helplessly by the elevator cables in a floating box of death. And with that, please enjoy my survival story:

  • Did … did the elevator just stop?
  • Why are the identifying floor numbers stuck on 3?
  • Did … did the elevator lady just say that we were experiencing technical difficulties?
  • Why are the emergency lights coming on?
  • How do we get out of here?
  • Oh my, we are actually stuck
  • None of the buttons work – are the buttons supposed to work?
  • I can hear the alarm when I press the button, but no one seems to be responding to our cry for help
  • Resist the urge to panic
  • The call button says we’re being connected to the elevator company and … we’re on hold?
  • Why are we on hold? How many elevator emergencies happen at 11PM?
  • The operator! Finally!
  • Oh dear, we’ve been disconnected
  • Call back and we are somehow STILL ON HOLD?!
  • Clearly the call button is not going to be useful. Like the alarm button. Why even have those in there? What kind of sick false hope is this?!
  • Which one of us has a cell signal?
  • I see my cell service doesn’t extend into elevator shafts
  • Time to embrace that the inside of this elevator might be the last thing I see
  • Thank the heavens, my SO has one bar!
  • Is one bar enough to call the hotel? Apparently, yes
  • Not sure that this is the right moment for my SO to make small talk with the hotel clerk so … HELP US! WE ARE STUCK IN THE ELEVATOR!
  • Message received, maintenance is coming. I might live to hit another rooftop bar tonight after all
  • The amplification of noise inside an elevator car is shocking. One would never know unless they were forced to stay in one place for a while
  • Why is everyone in this hotel accessing the other, working, elevator from this floor?
  • If the maintenance guy tells one more person that we’re stuck in the elevator I’m going to hulk smash through the door
  • I see that throwing the breaker 10 times didn’t fix it so what’s next?
  • And, we’re back to having to contact the elevator company
  • Thank goodness I used the bathroom before we got on this death ride
  • Is it getting hot in here? Is there even fresh air flowing in?
  • How do people successfully trick their minds to be in a happy place? Because right now my mind is hella aware of where my body is
  • Breathe. In and out, in and out, in and out
  • The elevator company apparently responds to phone calls but not emergency signals from the inside of the elevator. Interesting
  • Someone is coming to get us out in a cool 45 minutes
  • Where is the company located that it’s going to take 45 minutes? Do they not get police level speeding privileges for this? I could be having a panic attack
  • If we called the fire department, would they arrive sooner?
  • Should we call the fire department?
  • Would the elevator company be mad if we called the fire department?
  • Guess we will wait, it’s been almost 45 minutes already so … what do we have to lose? Besides phone battery
  • Did I lock my car door?
  • What late night eats will be open when we are finally able to get out of this thing?
  • Never in my life have I craved being in my home on a Zoom call as much as I am right now. Free to roam around
  • Why do the new Starbucks store designs look like weird shipping containers?
  • How much emotion exists for a fish? Like what is that spectrum?
  • If I had known we would have been in here for so long, I would have brought my cake leftovers
  • What … is that? Is that the door finally opening?
  • It’s the elevator man!
  • And the hotel staff who want to take us to the lobby … on the other elevator … like the stairs aren’t an option

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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