Saturday, April 30, 2016

Elevator Ups and Downs (Sometimes)

Two recent news stories brought elevator incidents to mind. In the first, a group of football heroes grossly exceeded a load limit and spent considerable time in limbo before help arrived. In the other, a group of police officers got stuck, only to be rescued by firemen who had lots of fun maximizing the cops' embarrassment by taking selfies that made it onto the internet.

Years ago, beautiful wife Sandy and I were in an elevator at the Salt Lake City airport when it stalled between floors. It's an eerie feeling. We were in close quarters in total darkness. Everyone except one man stayed calm until maintenance people got the elevator moving. That man lost it to the extent of screaming and thrashing around in the confined space. However, when we got out, he appeared to revert quickly to normal behavior.

I didn't know that!

My other elevator incident happened a few years later. I was sent to Albuquerque on Forest Service business. My neighbor's son had just built a new home there. He invited me to an early evening golf game, and his wife tacked on a dinner invitation. I brought my putter along with an eye to having at least one familiar club to buoy my confidence on a strange course.

My friend planned to pick me up at the hotel where our meeting was held and I was staying. He urged me to be prompt. We would try to get in 9 holes at University Course-North. Tricky winds were known to come up there in late daylight hours, so we would have to start play promptly to finish our game in calm conditions.

Unfortunately, my meeting dragged on beyond the appointed closing time. When we finally adjourned, I rushed through the lobby waving to my friend, zipped up to my 12th floor room in the elevator, changed shirts, grabbed my putter, and ran back to re-board the elevator. I was fairly close to being on schedule.

But at the first stop, a hotel maintenance lady got on. She squirted the control panel with cleaner and wiped it vigorously with a large cloth, hitting every button. The result was an immaculate button panel, but we stopped at each remaining floor--all 10 of them. I thought about getting off and running down the stairs, but that wasn't appealing following so closely on my frantic efforts to get up to my room.

We were just finishing the third hole on the North Course when a gust of wind blew my ball off the green. Further play was impossible.

Had I known about the advice with the control panel illustration shown here, I could have enjoyed a complete golf game. Oh well, the dinner was both complete and enjoyable.


Anonymous said...

You got me to thinking about elevator trips. I remembered I was in an elevator in 1989 when the space shuttle blew up. Like you, If had countess elevator trips. The most memorable was probably in the empire State building, or one of those other tall buildings in NYC where you change elevators because nothing scales the full height of the building.

David is terrified of elevators and has only begun to ride them in recent years because the pain from climbing the stairs finally became too much

Tom Sightings said...

Okay, you got me. Next time I'm in an elevator I've got to try this out.

Rummuser said...

I didn't know about the repressing of the buttons either. Thank you.

PiedType said...

I've never been stuck on an elevator but I suspect my level of concern might be directly related to how many other people (and personality types) were in there with me. And whether the lights stayed on. And how far down it was ... (I watch too many movies)

Dick Klade said...

Yes, much would depend on the circumstances. When the guy I mentioned went slightly berserk, the compartment was crowded and lights were out. That was scary!

joared said...

I wonder if that guy had a phobia? Fortunately I've never been stuck in an elevator, but wouldn't look forward to doing so. Whatever was in the box isn't showing up on my screen -- instructions on what to do if elevator gets stuck?

Dick Klade said...

It's what to do if someone presses all the buttons, as the cleaning lady did to me--hit each one twice.