Laughing All the Way….Anxiety In the Elevator

by on December 12th, 2010
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S & J in NY: Anxiety in the Elevator:
Did you ever go on vacation and have one of those trips where everything goes wrong? Well I and my sister had a weekend like that awhile back. We were on a simple trip from Buffalo to NY City – about an 8 hour ride.

Since we both had demands on our time and lives, when we took this little weekend trip we drove 4 hours and stopped for a Girls Night In at a Hotel on the way. How fun is that?

Well, there were several things that began going wrong from the moment we stepped into the parking lot of that hotel. First, without even thinking, we had spent all of our low-denomination bills and found ourselves facing the hotel staff and all their tip-earning services with 5 – count them – 5 singles between us. We peeled each one off painstakingly as a new service deserved a new tip. It’s not that we didn’t want to be generous; in fact, we did, but knew we couldn’t be! By the time we were settled in our room, we were beside ourselves laughing at our own embarrassment and lack of planning.

Ok, so, my sister J is the real anxiety-sufferer. She, since childhood, has had a terrible fear of heights. At the time of this incident, she openly and flatly refused to fly in an airplane, or take an elevator. Well, on this trip, we ended up on the 10th floor of the hotel. After walking up the stairs once to get to our room, even she decided taking the stairs was too much. She hesitantly agreed to step into the elevator and allow herself to take the ride down to dinner.

To this day, I’m not exactly sure went wrong. I mean, I don’t have the same fear, I was supposed to be the strength in the situation. We were the only two people as we walked into the elevator car. I made sure J was ok and gently pressed the button to the first floor where the dining room was. Keep in mind, J had a true and very real terror of the situation.

The elevator doors closed with a thud and the next thing we knew we were careening UP the elevator shaft. Yes, we had clearly pressed the “down” button. The elevator was possessed, out of control, and I had a panicked sister pasted against the rear wall of the car as it flew upwards. Her eyes were round, the fear of her life was upon her, she was in an elevator that had lost control.

I dropped to my knees in front of the control panel, my own panic over the top now. I knew there was a call button where live people could hear you. I started pressing buttons all over the control panel, shrieking incoherently now in a call for help.

So, let me recap: My sister’s eyes are rolling back in her head and she is plastered against the wall of the elevator. I am on my knees practically screaming at the control panel and pressing every button I could reach. In this state of being, the elevator suddenly stops and the door opens. A family stood waiting to board, their eyes huge and round as they stood there watching us, unmoving. They refused to get inside.

We stepped out with as much dignity as we could and tried to explain that the elevator had malfunctioned, but it was useless. We were labeled the dim-witted, Cheapos on the 10th floor. How do we know this for sure? Because the next morning when we entered the same dining room for breakfast, everyone in the restaurant cheered.

By the way, my sister: she decided after this to face her fears head on. In fact, seeing how hysterical the situation was made her able to deal with it more reasonably. Today, it’s not a personal favorite thing for her, but she does fly and will even use an elevator – if she must.


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