According to elevatorinpsector.com, Elisha Otis is credited with inventing the first passenger elevator in 1853. The first elevator of this type was installed in 1857.
There are approximately 700,000 elevators in North America.
Elevators are classified as mass transportation and are the safest means of mass transit by the National Transportation Safety Board excluding Automobiles. This form of transportation carries more passengers than all other forms of transportation combined on a daily basis!
Yesterday, I got stuck in one.
My Tuesday started out like any other Tuesday would. I woke up, went for a quick run on the treadmill while catching up on some Boy Meets World, took a shower, ate a bowl of Corn Pops (okay, ate two bowls of Corn Pops), and headed off to work. This ‘normal’ day however suddenly took a turn for the abnormal once I reached my office building. It had been raining cats and dogs all morning, accompanied by gale-force winds and a lovely rumble of thunder and strike of lightning thrown in for good measure (don’t even get me started on the hike to work that I had to make…my brand-spanking new umbrella broke, right after it nearly took me away Mary Poppins-style–on the plus side, I got soaked and was wet for the remainder of the day…ugh, not fun).
After finally reaching my building, I shook off the access water from my coat, rung my hair out, and got into the elevator. Once inside, I pressed 6 like I do everyday to get to my floor. The number key lit up, indicating that I was about to make my assent. Slowly but surely, my elevator car rose to floor two, to floor three, to floor four. Just as my i-pod was getting to the chorus of Hanson’s ‘Thinkin ’bout Somethin’ (great song btw’s), my ascent suddenly came to a stand-still. Initially I wasn’t worried; it must have stopped to pick up another passenger. Well, five minutes go by, and I began to get a little more than nervous.
It’s safe to say I was most definitely ’Thinkin ’bout Something’; I was thinking that this must have been a joke. I was thinking that I had never, ever been stuck in an elevator before and I didn’t really want to change that track record now. I was thinking that I never got to say goodbye to my family and friends and tell that I love them. I never got to see the Brewers win a World series, never got to visit the Eifel Tower, go skydiving or play Plinko on the Price is Right (which is just not the same without good ‘ol Bob Barker). Lastly, I was thinking that I totally could go for a hot fudge sundae. Or a hot, right out of the oven chocolate chip cookie. Yes, in times of stress or high-pressure, I often turn to delicious junk food, my happy place.
The once illuminated light on button 6 now was flashing, along with the rest of the floor buttons. I realized that panicking would not solve anything so I jumped into action. A vision of McGyver suddenly came into my mind; if only I had some duct tape, a paper clip, Tic Tacs and a bouncy ball, I could somehow concoct a way out. Sadly, McGyver (or McGruber for that matter) I am not. So instead, I took out my phone and called my boss (thank goodness my phone had reception…remind me to offer a location for the next “Can you hear me now” commercial), letting her know that I was at work, just not at work. She informed me that the storm had caused a minor power outage in the whole building, leading to the lights, computers, and the elevator to temporarily stop working but that they would be back up and running in a few minutes and to hold tight (it’s not like I had much of a choice, I really wasn’t going anywhere.)
In all actuality, I was only ‘stuck’ in that elevator for a mere ten minutes or so, but let me tell you, those ten minutes felt like a lifetime. Just when I was about to beat my opponent at Scrabble (I am the Scrabble masta, after all), the lights stopped flashing, the engine turned back on and I was moving back on up to the sixth floor. I half expected, half hoped that I would reach my floor, the doors would open, and all of my co-workers would be standing there, clapping, giving me hugs and flowers and cake and saying things like, “Wow, Wendi you are so brave!” and “How did you survive? You must tell us what happened!” What ACTUALLY happened was I reached the floor, the doors opened, and I was greeted by our office dog, Kitty, who looked up at me with eyes as if he was saying, “You are late, Wendi. Now chop, chop, how about you get on those dog treats ASAP.” And you know what, I wouldn’t have had it any other way (except maybe if Kitty was being held by Brad Pitt or George Clooney..a girl can dream, right).
Many of you may be wondering if I am now afraid of riding in elevators and to that, I will say ‘no’. The chances of getting stuck in an elevator are slim-to-nill (and it was just my luck that slim-to-nill decided to take a day off yesterday). I may however decide in the future to be a fair-weather elevator rider. 🙂
Because of my recent elevator escapades, I thought I’d share with you some elevator fun…
According to a recent article, the songs below, in instrumental jazz or easy listening versions, have been heard the most in elevators around the world:
When You Wish upon a Star
Dream a Little Dream
You Light up My Life
Sometimes When We Touch
Is it just me or is it actually hard to find an elevator that plays music these days? You’d think with the levels of technology being what they are, someone could figure out a way to jam a little Eminem or Black Eyed Peas into those lifts and really raise the roof…err…elevator car.
The next time you are in an elevator, I double-dog dare you to try one or two of these (and bring someone to record it…I have a feeling it would make for excellent YouTube material).
When you get off the elevator, whisper to the others who stayed on, “I’d get off the elevator NOW if I were you.”
Hum the “Mission Impossible” theme, speak into your lapel and say “Right, Jim”
When there is only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and then pretend it wasn’t you.
Sit with a desk, pencil cup and a telephone in the elevator. When someone walks in, ask if they have an appointment.
Push a button, pretend it gave you a shock. Smile and go back for more.
Ask the others in the elevator which floor they’re going to, but push the wrong buttons.
Call the Psychic Hotline and ask them if they know which floor you’re on.
Put a cardboard box in the corner; when someone gets on ask them if they can hear ticking.
When the doors close, announce, “Don’t worry, they’ll open again soon.”
Enforce a group hug.
Open your purse slightly and say, “Do you have enough air in there?”
Wave hands wildly at invisible flies buzzing around your head.
Make race car noises when anyone gets on or off.
Stand silent and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.
When arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act embarrassed when they open by themselves.
On the highest floor, hold the door open and demand that it stay open until you hear the penny you dropped down the shaft go “plink” at the bottom.
Stare, grinning, at another passenger for a while, and then announce: “I’ve got new socks on!”
Bet the other passengers you can fit a quarter in your nose.
Frown and mutter “gotta go, gotta go” then sigh and say “oops!”
Sing along with the Muzak.
Show other passengers a wound and ask if it looks infected.
Start a sing-along.
Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers that this is your personal space.
Question of the day: Elevators: Love ’em or hate ’em?