This story takes place about ten years ago. It was shortly after the first internet bust but before that quaint little (by today's standards) Enron financial implosion.
When the web startup I'd been working at closed up shop and headed to New Jersey, I took my first job at a cube farm corporation. It was a pretty good gig. The hours were flexible and me and a few other guys had a shared hard drive where we stored all the mp3s we downloaded from Napster.
I was lucky as the new guy to get a cube adjacent to a wall, so I only had one cube neighbor. We'll call her Janet. She was a great cube neighbor. Pleasant personality, always smiling, great sense of humor. She was a recent college grad and had snagged her job after doing an internship for the company.
She kept me up to date on all the pop culture news of the day.Survivor and
The Geena Davis Show.
Janet was the social glue for our core group. There were about five of us who started having lunch together daily. As a group it was easier to rationalize, or maybe just ignore, the fact that you're leaving for lunch a few minutes early and getting back a few minutes late.
It was during one of these lunch jaunts that The Elevator Incident happened.
On these lunch outings, we typically would pool rides since it was ecologically the right thing to do and it provided a certain level of mutually assured destruction for getting back too late from The Olive Garden.
Anyway on this particular day, Janet and I had arrived back at the office from lunch. We strolled into the elevator, hit the "6" button and waited for the lift to deliver us to our floor.
As a joke, I always used to like to bounce the elevator a little bit by doing a few quick knee bends — kind of a fake jumping up and down when the other person's not looking to make them thing the elevator is falling or something. You know, for the laughs.
Well, to this day I maintain that that little stunt had nothing to do with our elevator doing an emergency stop between the first and second floors.
Nonetheless, stuck it was. Not moving, door closed and to make matters worse the emergency phone inside the elevator didn't work. It could have been my imagination, but I swear the lights were flickering and the vent fan had turned off.
Janet was ready to freak out. To calm her down, I told her that the building probably wasn't on fire and there almost certainly wasn't a Twilight Zone-style nuclear holocaust going on outside.
Still,I knew that if I couldn't find a way out of this, it wouldn't be long before we hit DEFCON LUDICROUS. But before I tried my daring escape through the ceiling access hatch, I pulled out my cutting-edge circa 1999 Nokia cellular mobile telephone.
With my phone's antenna extended, I dialed up the security desk to apprise them of our situation and get a maintenance dude to get us out of here.
Next I called my manager to let her know that Janet and I are stuck in the elevator, no, for real, we're in the elevator and the elevator stopped between floors. No, she's okay at the moment What? Well… of course we both have all of our cloths on…I mean, I slipped my shoes off but we all have our own coping mechanisms…
Before I was done with the call, an elevator technician had opened the doors. About waste level (for me) was the first floor ceiling/second floor floor. We were looking up (to the second floor) and a small crowd of or coworkers who had come to watch our daring escape. You can imagine the entertainment value we were providing.
Well, to make a short story longer, we made it out of the elevator car safe and sound and had a good laugh for the next few hours and came away with a mildly amusing story to boot.
Eventually, I left that company for other professional pastures. It was eventually acquired in a corporate merger, and I kind of lost touch with Janet and the rest of the crew. It happens sometimes. Friends and neighbors go their separate ways.
Janet and I actually work at the same company now. She sits not too far from me on the same floor, but we don't have the same rapport that we had then.
And she still refuses to ride an elevator with me.
tagged: Enron, Napster, elevator, Geena Davis, Survivor, Nokia, neighbor