The Elevator

The day before our 5k, my friend Erin and I headed to the starting line to collect our official numbers, t shirts, and free cookies that all the participants received from one of the race sponsors.  Neither Erin or I are actually runners, or any kind of athletic, really – but we like to challenge ourselves and do things once in a while to try and prevent getting… fat.

The pick up location was in a state building in Albany.  We found the sign-in area without any trouble, thanks to the signs pointing us directly to where we needed to go.  We walked right in like we knew where we were going and got our race numbers and anything else we needed.  There was some sort of health and fitness vendor fair going on, so we stayed a while and gathered as many freebies from the tables as our purses and pockets would hold.  You wouldn’t believe how many of those little tubes of hand sanitizer will fit in a purse, even around all of the little chapsticks we were loading up on.  Oh, and of course, we also broke open one of the boxes of cookies we got, since we needed to build up our strength for the big run the next morning.

When it was time to leave, we headed out the same way we came in – only to find it roped off and doors locked.  To our left was a set of elevators, so we figured we’d just hop in and take it down to the ground floor and figure out where we were relative to where we parked once we got outside the building.

Once in the elevator, we push some buttons and the doors close.  We’re chatting about something or other, the way we always do when we get together, and the elevator shakes and the doors open.  Out we go!  We take three steps into the hallway, turn the corner and both of us stop.  “Weren’t we just on this floor?”  I ask.

Erin looks around.  “No… were we?  This is where we got in the elevator?”

“Uh, yep.”

We get back into the elevator, trying to figure out how that could happen.  We continue our conversation and punch the elevator button again.  The elevator shakes and moves and when the doors open, we walk out.

“Oh my god!”  I look around.  “Erin! This is the same floor again!”

Well, our giggles turn into hysterics – the kind where tears are rolling down your face and you kinda get doubled-over from exercising those underused laugh muscles in your stomach.  We try the elevator buttons again.  The elevator moves.

“You know the security crew are peeing their pants right now, watching the two morons try and figure out how to operate the elevators,” I manage to say in between gasping for air.

Erin is literally crossing her legs,  “Forget about the security guys, I hope I don’t pee MY pants!”

The elevator doors open, and we peak out – this time we don’t even bother to leave the elevator, we can tell we’re on the same floor.  “I swear this elevator moves every time we get in it!” I exclaim.

“Why aren’t we going anywhere?”

Someone else gets into the elevator with us, and we try to compose ourselves to look a little less suspicious (and, well, less crazy).  The person pushes the same button on the elevator that we had been pushing, and the elevator moves, just like it did when we pushed the button.  The elevator doors open, and we follow the person out into the hallway, expecting to be on the same floor again.  But this time, we’re on the ground floor.

“He pushed the same button we did,” I say, shaking my head.

“Leave it to us to get lost in an elevator.”

Once we were on the ground floor, we were able to find our car without any trouble (surprisingly) but two years later, we still talk about the day we got lost in the elevator.  We still have absolutely no idea why the elevator kept returning to the same floor when we pushed the button!

(photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/