Friday, October 1, 2010
So Today I was Stuck in an Elevator
So today I was stuck in an elevator. I work on the 7th floor of a research building in the downtown of a certain mid-south city. My first clue that something was wrong was that the power was out in the parking garage, and my key card would not lift the gate to let me in. However, that isn’t much of a problem if you remove the gate from the machine. So after the gate was taken off and set aside, I could pull my car in quite easily and park. Over one hurdle and on to the next. As I approached the building some woman came frantically derping out of the building calling for someone down the way telling them the power was out and the elevator wasn’t working. Okay, I thought. Who cares? Use the stairs - that is what they are there for. So I go into the building, which unfortunately has a charter school on the ground floor. Because the power was out, nobody knew what to do, so there were a couple hundred kids all milling about, calling me “sir” and asking what was going on. “I just got here” I replied, not knowing what to say to these inner city kids who went to a charter school so they wouldn’t get shot at the local schools. So I tried the stairs. I knew that when the power fails, the stairs are supposed to unlock in case of a fire hazard, so firefighters can get up, and employees and personnel can get out. Not the case today, however. So I tried swiping my card, and got the familiar beep, but then the green LED faded to dull. I tried the door, but alas, it was still locked. My assumption was that the sensor had just enough capacitance stored within it to read my card, beep, and then die. So I know that there is another set of smaller, single-file stairs within the building. So I go to the other set of stairs, and it is unlocked. I go inside, and under the dim glow of the emergency lights begin my ascent to the 7th floor. It is a long ascent, with each level taking three individual flights of stairs. However, I soon am disappoint. There is an emergency door between the third and fourth floors. It is like a chain-link fence gate that goes from floor to ceiling, and covered in plexiglass. Oh, and it was locked. I have no idea the purpose of the door, and I have no idea why it is called an “emergency door” when it prevents people from traversing either downward or upward on the emergency stairs. So while I was walking up the single-file stairs, I heard a lot of noise below me, and it was progressively getting louder. It seems as if the several hundred students from the charter school were all coming up the stairs because of the power outage. This took a long time… I don’t know why it took so long, other than the fact that the kids didn’t want to be in school and wanted to take as long as possible. It was kinda funny at one point. I could see down the stairs a little way, and this white woman came barging through yelling at the kids “TO THE RIGHT” and then they moved as far as they could and she barged through. She had nothing to do with the school, but worked on one of the upper floors, so it was funny to see her get exasperated. Some people here don’t like black kids. Oh well. So eventually I got downstairs, and when I did the power turned back on. So I got on the elevator. I had to press “7” a few times, but eventually the elevator started moving. I then got all the way up to just past the 6th floor, and the elevator stopped and the lights turned out. I stood in darkness cursing my luck for about 5 minutes, and then the backup power came on. The elevator took me down to the basement and the door opened. Not wanting to get stuck, I got out in the dark creepy basement. There is nothing down there. Just some walls and some storage and some electrical equipment. Only a couple of lights. So I am standing waiting for the power to come back on, and then the lights go out. So I get out my phone and use it for a light, thinking the devil is going to come kill me, and ten minutes later the power comes on. I then get in the elevator and go up to work. So that is the story of why it took me over half an hour to get from the parking garage to my office. Hope this was as entertaining for you as it was for everyone else I told this story to.