Irrational Fear: The Elevator

I’ll admit I have an irrational fear of elevators.  And getting sucked out my window by a huge storm, but that’s an entirely different subject.

Working on the 28th floor in one of the largest buildings downtown though, it is a necessity to use them.  Also working downtown, nearly everyone you know has a story of having been trapped, or knowing someone that has been trapped, in an elevator for extended periods of time.

I’m one of those people who has been trapped, though not to the extent of some of my peers.

If you know me, you know I am a HUGE chicken.  So the instances in which I have gotten stuck may not have yielded the most sound judgments.

The first time it happened was on an elevator with my best friend during lunch.  We got in the elevator, pressed the button to go down, it starts moving and then…STOP.  Lights out.  No cell phone. Ahhhh – I’m going to die in here!  My best friend jumps on me and clings to me for help.  Ha.  Not her smartest move.  And I had to pee.  I’m living in my nightmare.  Thankfully after a few moments, it began working and albeit traumatized from these 30 seconds, I was safe and going to make it.  Needless to say, I avoided this particular elevator at all costs going forward.

Getting stuck with a stranger was probably the most terrifying of all.  One particular morning I parked at work, got in the elevator with an older gentleman and the doors proceeded to close.  And… STOP.  You can hear the electricity go off as the machine virtually stops.  Ahhhh – I’m going to die!  The man in question did not help my nerves one bit.  He proceeded to start to panic and hit every single button on the elevator.  Now even I’ve seen enough movies to know this does not work.  Plus I don’t want to confuse the elevator.  But in moments of sheer panic, I freeze.  I’d be that girl in the scary movies that has the guy with the chainsaw coming to kill her and just stands there.  You know, the one you yell at the screen to RUN!.  Incidentally, I have been on the other side of such a thing, and I did freeze.  This does bode well for me during a zombie apocalypse.  Anyway, back to my story.  I’m starting to sweat as I stand there frozen in an elevator with a complete stranger.  Tears spring to my eyes because this is it.  The end.  All of my 30 years worth of existence to die in an old elevator.  And then a miracle happened.  The elevator power came back on and I was saved!

Shortly after this incident, there were many stories on the news about elevators being stuck downtown for hours, and one in our building involving a coworker of mine for 45 minutes!

After these life altering occurrences, I decided that I would rather die alone in an elevator than with a stranger.  Well, that and the fact that I don’t really like people that much.  As much as I am made fun of by my friends, I now make sure I use the restroom and carry a cell phone before getting in any elevator.  This is a strict rule that I will not break.

Also, I will not get into an elevator with strangers if at all possible.  And never, ever in an elevator that is crowded, even if there is room for me.

I admit that this takes some planning – from pretending to drop something and trying to find it, making sure I’m walking slow so people do not want to hold the elevator for me, pretending I’m on a cell phone and can’t get in the elevator so I won’t lose the signal, pretending that I have forgot something in my car “so go ahead without me, I’ll catch the next one”…you get the picture.  I can get very creative with my reasons when put on the spot.

Just being in an elevator makes my heart rate speed up.  And I can feel panic setting in.  And without fail, Stephen Tyler starts singing “…love in an elevator…livin’ it up while I’m goin’ down….” and then I want to laugh and become all awkward.  So it’s just best if I can avoid them all together.

But I’m still too lazy to walk up 28 flights of stairs.

So the elevator becomes a necessary evil.


  1. Yeah, um I think you’d need a shower after 28 flights of stairs. But, I’m with you, I’m not a fan, and if it’s just a couple flights of stairs, I’m totally doing them…then of course, I start to think about how creepy stairwells are!

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