September 2, 2008
As background, I work in a pretty old building. It’s like 100 years old and on some kind of register of historic buildings of downtown Indy. (Maybe I’ll research that and update this post.)
So, my colleague Josh and I just walked to Giorgio’s to pick up lunch (mmm, beef calzone!) Back in the building, we pop onto one of the elevators (recently redecorated), but we never get to the fourth floor. It stopped on the third. Now, it’s a pretty slow elevator, and I’ve noticed lately that the doors open even more slowly than they used to. So, my first thought is that someone is getting on at 3. But the doors never open, and the elevator is dead still. Josh and I look at each other and aren’t sure what to do. I push “door open” a couple of times, then the 4 button a couple of times and then decide we need some outside help.
The great news is that the Push to Call button actually works! It plays a recording that we’re being connected to a call center and then a live human is on the line! Hooray! She says she’s sending help, so Josh and I settle down on the floor for lunch. All I can think is “thank goodness I used the bathroom before we left for lunch!”
However, my calm is short-lived, since Josh begins citing information from a Mythbusters show I remember seeing a year or so ago. (The title of the episode was “Elevator of Death.” This does not bode well.) Apparently, a fall from the fourth floor is the “basic limit of survivability” and Josh outlines that we are on the third floor, but there is a basement, so we are just at the edge of that limit of survivability. There’s lots of discussion about how best to position ourselves (we actually ended up rotating so our legs were parallel to the door but we were opposite each other. This way, Josh explains, my head will fall one way and his will fall another and we won’t bang into each other or the side walls.
Finally (seemed like forever, but was less than 10 minutes), the maintenance guy knocks on the door and asks if we’re stuck. Well, duh! He says he’s going to the roof to turn off the power. It’s only after he’s gone that I wonder aloud, “What happens when the elevator is turned off?” Josh attempts to flatten himself closer to the floor to lessen the impact.
Eventually, we end up on the first floor, and the guy waiting for the elevator looks perplexed that we’re sitting on the floor with our lunches half-consumed. We beat a hasty retreat and were shocked that the guy actually got on the elevator.
We would have taken the stairs, but the door was locked. So we took the other elevator and made it safely back to our offices.