45 Minutes Trapped in an Elevator

It’s 11:25am, Wednesday, June 29, in the year of our Lord, 2022.

I’m trapped in an elevator at my office building.

I entered. The doors closed and, suddenly, an automated voice advised me through the speaker, “Get off at the next available stop, this elevator is out of service.” But then the damned chrome-plated bin just stopped. Not gradually nor suddenly with a jolt. It just stopped in a very 21st century, digital sort of way.

I considered my options for a moment, resisting the obvious solution: pressing the call button for help. Pressed my floor again, no good. Pressed “open door,” nope. So I called.

“Please hold.”

I waited, ironically.

A gentleman picked up, “what is your emergency?”

“I’m stuck on an elevator at the first floor of 60 Queen Street.”

He asked some questions, followed with, “Help is on its way, sir.” My hero.

A small black bug is scuttling around the elevator floor. My only companion on this harrowing, though stationary, ordeal. I looked up the critter on my iNaturalist app. Its identity is unclear. A beetle of sorts with long antennae. A shame I can’t identify it. “Trevor” will have to do.

Trevor disappeared, so now I’m alone again. Anger overcomes me. Not because i’m trapped alone in an elevator, but because, apparently, the only passage out of this metal shoebox is the size of a small bug. Worse, Trevor found said passage and chose to abandon me.

Now I’m feeling abandoned. You bastard, Trevor. Why couldn’t you stay? We could have made something of this, together! Coward.

Well, 15 minutes have passed and I’m still trapped. I can hear the frequent bitter-sweet sounds of adjacent elevators going up-and-down, opening and closing. People coming and going, indifferent to the failure rate for these machines. Clearly, they’ve never experienced “in the event of an emergency!” They’ve never fallen into the immense white space of a graph, an outlier, dismissed and replaced with an inputed average because “that’s really unlikely to happen anyways.”

I decided to sit down. At first, I suspected that they’d rescue me sooner, so I remained standing to show my strength, my fearlessness. But it’s been too long. I’m sitting now. I expect these doors will suddenly open and they’ll see me sitting here on the ground, and they’ll pity me, and will feel sorry for me, and I’ll be humiliated. My plan is to be vigilant for any sound that suggests the “jaws of life”, and then I’ll jump to my feet to avoid embarrassment.

A voice speaks from behind the door. He lets me know that “the elevator company is en route, sir, we’re terribly sorry.” I ask how long he expects it will take, but he’s gone. It’s been half an hour since these doors interrupted the sublime flow of my existence.

I always thought that I had claustrophobia, but I’m handling this exceptionally well. Good for me, I say. Maybe it’s because I have access to this miracle device that makes this enclosed space seem less, enclosed. But my battery is now at half. I wonder how I would feel without this device, without the sounds of those adjacent “working as expected” elevators, without these mirrors that make the space appear more expansive, without…Trevor!

Trevor is back now! S/he came back and has perched itself upon a nearby tile along the base of this death box. Oh Trevor, I’m so glad you returned. Let’s take a selfie together for posterity. Snap!

Okay, these mirrors are definitely here to make the space appear larger. Ingenious really. I almost feel like I…

My saviours have arrived! The jaws of life are attempting to pry the doors open. Oh no, the technician is expressing frustration…It’s not going well. He’s backed away and is now discussing with others.

It just occurred to me that I should probably stand up. Adjust my clothes and hat. Look strong and stoic for the welcome party.

No sound. They’ve left.

Now I’m wondering what the total cost of my rescue will be. How much is the life of a man trapped in an elevator worth? What if they had to choose between me and five people trapped in another elevator? Which trolly would they choose? Would they consider my potential contributions or my prior sins? Or will they prioritize my inherent dignity and right to live? I wonder if elevator technicians have to take classes in ethics.

The doors have opened. A welcome party of one. I’m out, thank you for your time.

…oh no! I forgot to say bye to Trevor!

1 Comment

  1. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😏😉👍🏼❤️🙏🏼🫶🏼🥰🌷😍🎉
    I want to congratulate you Emad jon for handling this situation so calm and with bravery and humour.
    I would of gone crazy trapped and being accompanied with Trevor in closed room. Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!
    You passed the bravery line. You are a Hero.
    Bravo bravo 👏
    Mom 🫶🏼🙏🏼❤️🥰🌷

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