Everyone who knows me well knows I have a touch of claustrophobia. Heights, wide open spaces, crowds, spiders, snakes or mice — none of these things bother me in the least. But the idea of being trapped in an enclosed space is unsettling to me. So obviously I am not fond of crowded elevators or subway cars, especially when stopped between stations or floors.  And as fate would have it, that is exactly what happened tonight. I was on my way home from seeing a play with friends.  I got into the elevator alone as there was no one else around, and pushed the button for my floor. The elevator started climbing, then abruptly started falling, fast. It jerked to a stop about two floors down from there and shook a couple of times. I nervously started pressing buttons of the closest floors to where I was trying to get the door to open. Button lights went on and off, but no movement. So I pushed the call button. The guy at the front desk answered, but then got cut off.  I called again and he answered again, this time asking me where I was.

“I’m trapped in the elevator!”, I said. “And I have to pee!”

And he said to hold on, he was calling for help. I felt warm and took off my winter coat and waited for the inevitable panic to set in. But you know what? It didn’t, really. Sure I wanted out of there and yes I did have to pee, but it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I expected it to be. Although I wasn’t relishing the idea of pissing in the corner of the elevator (especially with the camera looking down on me), I was staying pretty calm. And then, like magic, about 10 minutes later the elevator started working again and I was able to ride to my floor and exit.


  1. Mom says:

    This is unnerving–the same thing happened to me a couple of months ago at school. I got in the elevator with some sushi I’d grabbed for a quick lunch (I was teaching an intensive class all day every day that week), and the elevator stopped. I pushed the button that makes a ringing noise. I called my secretary on my cell; she was out to lunch. I called our Tech people and asked them to call maintenance, and then I saw the elevator phone and called whoever answers those. I was trapped for about 15 minutes. (Fortunately, nature WASN’T calling me.)

    Makes me worry that elevators aren’t as reliable as we usually think……