Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuck in an Elevator

A few months ago, my wife and kid and I went to a hash in downtown Chicago. Basically, hashing is a social running group who likes to call themselves a "drinking club with a running problem." Patricia and I met at a hash and if I may be blunt for a moment, Kiera was conceived at a hash event. We still go a couple times a month, but definitely not as often as we used to, because, you know, I'm awfully busy being an Intergalactic Gladiator and all.

Anyway, a few months ago it was the hash on the day of the Chicago Marathon. That hash is a pretty big deal and we get visitors from all over who come because they participated in or had a friend participate in the marathon. We went to the start of the hash, which was at a bar three levels below downtown Chicago, met with everyone and had a beer. When it was time to run the trail, we packed Kiera into a jog stroller and headed for the elevator to walk part of the trail to the end.

We got into an outdoor elevator with a couple other "walkers" and another couple with a stroller and pushed the up button. It started whirring, it raised a level, then with a thud, it dropped back to the first level. Though it didn't hurt or anything, we were obviously all shaking from the drop. But then the elevator did it again!

Whirrrrr THUD!

Whirrrr THUD!

Whirrrrrr THUD!

It wouldn't stop and we couldn't force our way out. I was pushed to the back and I couldn't get forward to try to pry the doors open and the people who were closest to the doors couldn't open the doors themselves. My wife called for help on the emergency phone and, very calmly, explained what was going on.

The woman on the other end asked us to hold on and she would try to get the building engineers -- it was a Sunday and it might be difficult. Meanwhile, the elevator continued to go up a little ways, thud, then drop back to the first level.

Also, I might mention that on the top level, there was a fire station. Anyone in it, however, was oblivious to our predicament.

So we lost contact with the operator and my wife called again. This time, she tried explaining as calmly as she could what exactly was happening and that there were two little kids in the elevator. I don't think the operator thought that our plight involved the giant metal coffin raising and dropping us; she may have thought that we were just stuck.

It got to the point where my wife forcefully, but very slowly and carefully explained our situation to the operator, who then got it (I think) and replied that they were still trying to get a hold of someone.

Miraculously, the elevator stopped clanging back to the ground and actually took us up to the second level. Everyone gratefully clamored out of it and we all yelled at some people who wanted to get in "Don't do it!"

We continued on. After calming down, Kiera fell asleep in the stroller, we got to the end and we had a beer (you know, to calm our nerves) and some French fries.

If there were a moral to this story, I think it would be "Always stay on trail."


David said...

michele sent me
crash thud
gotta be a fan of stairs - if no stroller, of course

Ciera said...

I once dreamt about falling in an elevator...ok, I dream it often...and it's always with enough force that it does this anti-gravity thing and I end up floating at the top while we fall. Like you really want to know all that! Too bad, telling ya anyway.

uhm...what is the Scence Fiction Convention blog about? I don't see anything there>

dddragon said...

geeez, that's a fun experience! Worse than taking four hours to get home?

My sister and her husband are runners who like beer. I'll have to tell her about the hash parties.

(wait, that doesn't sound right...)

Lt. Cmdr Oneida said...

Ughh :( I grew up in NYC on the 12th floor, so from an early age I've been paranoid about elevators, I take them, but the noisey ones make me nervous. And recently my bf made me watch the MythBusters episode about falling elevators.
On the plus side, your poor daughter might develop an aversion to elevators and always take the stairs, thus ensuring great cardiovascular health for the rest of her days.

flu said...

Hmmmm, Oneida... I was gonna say the moral sounded more like, "take the stairs". I sure Jon coulda handled the stroller.

Jon, hashing is a very different thing where I'm from... but other than that, yes, we are a lot alike.

Professor Xavier said...

You mean to say that with all the Intergalactic Gladiator powers at your disposal, you couldn't overcome one little metal box? That hashing must be throwing you off, Jon.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Well, I did have a beer...

willowfae said...

Hey, the complimenting Commenter sent me! Great blog- funny story! I love it!

Lori said...

I can't believe ""Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator"" got stuck in a elevator....Now that's funny!!!....I hope ""THE COUNT"" doesn't read this...he will know your weakness is beer!!!

Have a great day!!!

Anonymous said...

Spent a few years in chicago myself. AS life in that city goes, that elevator was havin a GOOD day.

I know you coulda blasted your way out had it not been for the younglings......Right....

Karnov said...

My friends, Paco and Cheeks, ued to do a diffrent type of "Hashing"

Anonymous said...

Are you sure this wasn't part of the trail? Kind of like a doo-loop you can't get out of?

Damn, now I have to figure out how to work an elevator ride into the next hash trail I set, and not only that, how to break the elevator!

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