My sister-in-love called me this morning and asked me to drop a copy of my brother's death certificate at the Veterans office in the Jefferson building, downtown. "The guys name is Marc, and he is on the twelfth floor."
I pulled up to the building with the big bear in front...my father worked in the Jefferson building when I was little and the memories of climbing up onto the bear and planting a big kiss on his cold, stone body came rushing back...
I entered the building through the revolving doors..."eww, rusty" I thought as I looked down at the worn floors and I squinted my eyes at the piercing sound of rusting mechanical parts that spin the doors...
As I stepped onto the elevator I pressed the number twelve button and the doors shut immediately.
...the numbers on the lighted board above the door seemed to instantly change...1, 2, 3....12! It was honestly the fastest elevator I had ever ridden and it left me a bit woozy.
The doors opened and I stepped off the elevator and stepped into the Veterans office. Marc was readily available and the drop off took no time at all.
Seconds later I stepped back onto the elevator and I pressed the first floor button, the doors closed.
...12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6......
My body jolted and I began to loose my balance. Reaching out to the sides and grasping the walls, a feeling of panic set in...
I picked up the phone on the wall...an operator on the first floor answered:
"May I help you?"
"Um, yes...this is Betsy, I'm stuck in the elevator." (what am I? A celebrity? Why did I say my name?)
"Okay mam, I'll send maintenance right away, hold tight."
approximately sixty seconds later (but seriously, it felt like hours!) I picked up the phone again:
"May I help you?"
"yes, um, is someone working on the elevator?"
"yes mam, we are working as quickly as we can."
"okay. Thank you."
approximately thirty seconds later (but seriously, it felt like hours!)
the elevator phone rings...
ummmm....am I supposed to answer? What? It's a legit question, right?
"This is Betsy." (don't judge me, it's how I answer my cell)
"Yes mam, this is maintenance (does he not have a real name?) and we are working on the situation at hand. Are you okay?"
"ummm, I'm feeling warm....and like I might cry....yes, yes, I'm going to cry....here it comes."
(What I imagine was going through "maintenance's" head: "we've got a nut on our hands, work faster!")
"Okay mam, stay calm. We are working as quickly as possible."
"Ummm, sir? Can you please tell me, am I between the fifth and sixth floors or the sixth and seventh floors?"
"fifth and sixth."
"Ummmm, okay...can you now tell me how many feet, approximately of course, is it to the ground floor?"
"well, I need to know how many feet it is to the ground floor so that if the cable breaks and I come crashing down I can brace myself for the severity of the fall. I mean, are we talking hundreds of feet?"
(inside "maintenance's" head: "yep, we've got a nut on our hands...and she's cracked.")
"mam, we are working quickly. I'm going to hang up now, but hold tight, we just about have the problem solved."
Ummmm...he didn't even wait for me to acknowledge that he was going to hang up. Rude.
...approximately twenty minutes later (but seriously, it felt like days!) after checking my email and attempting a few phone calls (nobody was available...figures) I realized I was drenched in sweat. Man alive, it was HOT in the two square feet that I was occupying (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration...but seriously, it felt like two square feet!). I picked up the phone:
"May I help you?"
"yes, this is Betsy again. I'm curious, did you think it would be someone else? Is there more than one phone line from the elevator?"
(I'm kidding, I didn't really say that...but I certainly thought it...I mean, come on!)
"yes, this is Betsy again. Are they any closer to fixing the elevator?"
"mam, there is a short in the electrical wire and they are working on it now. I apologize for the inconvenience. Are you doing okay?"
"oh, yes, sure! I'm great! I'm just closing my eyes and breathing deep, I'm trying to get to my happy place, but for some reason, my mind has me trapped in a box!"
"thank you." and I hung up.
approximately FOURTY-FIVE minutes in the elevator (I'm SO serious!) the elevator jerked into motion and threw me to the first floor. The doors opened and I literally JUMPED off the possessed and cursed elevator and " maintenance" was there to greet me, smudged in filth, tool box in hand:
"are you okay mam?"
my crazed eyes, sweaty clothing and matted hair said it all...
"sorry about that mam, have a good day now!"
I bolted towards the doors (choosing to use the "standard" doors, fearing that the revolving doors would trap me next) and I walked up to the stone bear that stands in the front of the building...
From now on, I'm taking the stairs.