Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freaks and misadventure. Freaks and misadventure...

Said it before and I'll say it again. You start up a blog and your life turns to freaks and misadventure. The universe conspires to give you shit to blog about.

Monday night. I'm working late at Ye Olde Information Company. 'Til 11:30PM actually. Very rare I put in that kind of overtime and I don't resent it. They treat me pretty good there.

I'm half-starved from missing dinner. I pack up and flee through the darkened cubicle farm to the West tower exit door that leads to the 2nd-floor lobby. There, I hit the elevator down button and wait.

Ding! The down arrow above the right-hand elevator door lights up. The door opens maybe half an inch and immediately closes again. The down arrow light goes out.

Things that make you say, hmmmmmmm.

Some kind of defect. Occasionally an elevator will malfunction and require service. No problem. There are three more elevators. The one here on the left hand side and two more just like them in the East tower lobby (the towers are not precisely towers in the strictest sense as they are firmly connected on every floor.

I hit the down button again. Nothing happens. I hit the up button. Nothing happens. Now both buttons are lit up and no doors will open.

Screw this action, I say. I maneuver my briefcase and laptop case into the same hand, pull out my wallet and draw out my security access card so I can swipe the security door and go back into the dark office. I go through the lifeless West tower, into the dark abandoned East tower and exit the security door there to confront the East tower elevators. I hit the down button.

Ding! The down arrow above the right-hand elevator door lights up. The door opens maybe half an inch and immediately closes again. The down arrow light goes out.

Things that make you say, What the holy flying fuck is going on here?

I hit the button again. Nothing. I hit the up button.


There are no stairs here. The stairs - as with many office buildings are strictly fire escapes. The elevators play a key role in building security. My access card is programmed for second and fourth floors only - the locations of our offices. Again I fumble for my access card. I leave, retrace my steps and discover that the West tower elevators are still in stunned mode. Both buttons lit up but no doors will open. I hit one of the buttons again.

And again and again and again.

I travel back and forth between towers for a half hour. No elevators will open. And there are no live security guards in the building.

I speak a few choice words. And by speak I mean holler. And by choice I mean - unspeakably vulgar.

I search the rolodex at reception and come up with a card for Polaris - our commercial landlord. I don't see an emergency number but who knows? I also find the home number for Anne, our office manager who also happens to be a Streetsville neighbour of mine.

It's now midnight and I know that she and her sister and mother will be sleeping but I'm desperate. I can't stand the thought of sleeping in the office for the night (which I've done before on a half-dozen occasions and vowed must never happen again). I make the call and get her voicemail.

"Anne, I'm terribly sorry to call you at home so late but I'm trapped in the office. None of the elevators are working. Please call me at the office if you get this message. Extension 555. Again - I'm really sorry."

I grab my luggage and march back through the office to the West tower elevators for yet another try. If this fails I'll have to consider using the emergency exit. The shit will hit the fan. The fire department will fine us $1000 or so but what the fuck? I'm not a rat in a maze. I didn't sign up for this shit.

Both button lights are still lit. I hit them again one at a time and no luck. I turn to head back to my desk in case Anne phones. I search my pockets for my security pass. I search my wallet. No pass. I've left it by the goddam phone!

I'm now trapped in the little 2nd floor lobby.

From here I can't even access a fire escape door.

I have no cell phone.

I'm fucked.

This area is in effect a balcony - overlooking the grand lobby below. So there are no walls; no sound barriers between I and the first-floor elevators below me. So I clearly hear the ding of the elevator door on the first floor below me. And I hear the door wheeze open. I step to the railing and shout, "Hello!" It must be the cleaning staff, right?

No answer. No footsteps. Nothing.

I ponder the situation. There's no way I'm going to attempt any sort of climbing down to the first floor balcony. It's a long drop. And I still wouldn't be able to get out. You need your pass to exit the building. But at least there's a payphone in the main lobby.

For something to do I open up the box that is sitting on the floor. Inside are flimsy metal skewers, cappuccino machine cleaning fluid and thermometers. Meat thermometers. I ponder how these items might help me. Then I remember I'm not McGiver for fuck sakes. There's also a large cupboard full of courier supplies. I imagine myself building bed and pillow out of envelopes and NEXT-DAY-SERVICE stickers.

I hear the distant ding and the opening of elevator doors below again.


No answer. No footsteps. Nothing.

Either they are ghouls that are toying with my brain before they come and eat it, or else the elevators have gone completely off the rails. This opening and closing below goes on again and again. Occasionally I try the buttons but still to know avail.

Finally I notice that there is indeed a fire alarm pull switch present - beside the security door. If I want, I can pull this and the door will release. Then I could enter the fire stairs from within the office. But this does not appeal. The shit would surely hit the fan in a big way.

It's one o'clock AM. I've been trapped on this balcony for an hour now.

Now I have to pee.

Do I whip it out and soil the rug or do I pull the alarm and face the music? By soiling the rug I save them the $1000 or so in fines but they'll have to spend some of it on carpet cleaning anyway. And do I really want to sleep on a stack of envelopes tonight with the smell of urine in the air?


The up light shines over the left-hand elevator! The door begins to open. I pray that no brain-eating ghoul lurks within. And that no The-Shining Here's-Johnny sea of blood pours out. I pray that it's empty.

It's not. A man steps out. He is the man from Polaris. Anne got my message. I'm saved.


Dave said...

Just another reason to buy yourself a Batman utility belt. You could have just rappelled down to the first floor. You may also consider picking up a Stadium Pal to avoid that whole 'need to pee' thing.

Anonymous said...

Snort! It's MacGyver, no Mcgiver.

Did I just out myself as a Bouvier?

Hurrah for Anne!

Babs Gladhand said...

Along with Dave's suggestions, you should also carry around an inflatable mattress, dried fruits and vegetables and a blowtorch.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a pyscho love-struck astronaut in the news last year who had some kind of diaper? Hey, thanks for your movie comment. You're welcome anytime at Austin Girl Blog. I like reading your stories.

Poorna Banerjee said...

whoa. That was fun allright. With all the watersport fantasies as well!!

Kathleen said...

Dang, Claudia beat me to the spelling correction. ;-)