In Case of an Emergency

by Marinka on July 31, 2008

For reasons that I don’t fully understand, I am the fire warden for our floor at work. I think it’s because when they came to do the fire drill and said “Who can volunteer to be a fire warden?” no one said anything and to break the awkward silence, I raised my hand. It’s a good thing that the local executioner was not around to ask who wanted to try the brand new noose, because apparently I will do anything to avoid an awkward silence. You were saying?

But if anything, GODFORBID, should happen, I am responsible for safely evacuating the people on our high rise floor. Between you and me, I’d just as soon that everyone stayed home, to be on the safe side.

There are many, many things wrong with my being in any kind of charge in an emergency situation. For starters, my first response is always “do I have a cyanide pill?” Which is insane because of course I don’t, it’s not like I’ve been meaning to get the cyanide prescription refilled and it’s just been slipping my mind. I do this because I saw Titanic where the mother gives her kids cyanide pills so that they wouldn’t have to drown, or so that she could enjoy a nice quiet dinner, the details are fuzzy now. But really? If my emergency response comes from Titanic, don’t you think that someone else should be in charge?

I already told everyone that I work with that in an emergency, they’re on their own and I wish them the best, but I’ll be running down the stairs, screaming my head off and trampling everyone in my way.

They know this. They know that my nerves are pre-shot. For example, they are under strict instructions, in case I ever get stuck in the elevator, to tell the rescue workers that the woman trapped inside is twelve months pregnant, most likely with the Messiah. First or Second coming, in deference to the rescuer’s beliefs. I want special treatment. I want recognition of my panic.

It’s unfortunate that I am so scared of elevators because I both live and work in high rise buildings and since I need a lot of nourishment throughout the day, I have to go up and down a lot. Yes, I considered using the stairs, but I am also lazy and not insane, so I quickly dismissed that option. (Although remind me to tell you about the time that the elevator in my apartment building was out of service and I ran down to the store for some necessaries and then forgot that the elevator was out of service and bought a watermelon the size of a post term baby elephant. Oh. I guess I told you that story. But I can tell it again, with flourish. Just say the word!)

I am an elevator bitch in the sense that as soon as I get on one, my normally sunny personality gets transformed. I just want to get the hell off, I don’t want to get stuck, I’m busy holding my breath so that my exhaling doesn’t disturb the elevator maintenance. I don’t want to make small talk, I don’t want to overhear small talk and I sure as shit don’t want to overhear anyone’s cell phone conversation, especially if it consists of, “yeah, I’m in the elevator. I may lose service. You still on? Wow, really? Still? I was sure the sure there would be no service. HELLO? Oh, I thought I lost you. Anyway, yeah, no, I’m still in the elevator, can’t believe I still haven’t lost you. Listen, hold on, omesay itchbay isway ivinggay emay away irtyday ooklay.” Seriously? If you need to maintain contact with someone telephonically while you’re in the elevator, start Googling “life, how to get one”.

I also confess to being the type of person to do the fake “I’m pressing the DOOR OPEN button” move when someone is running for a departing elevator. It’s true, more often than not, I’m pounding on the DOOR CLOSE button at that very moment, while saying “open, doors, open!” But I never understood why people dash for the elevator as though it is their one and only chance at happiness.

And the thing that makes me the most insane? If you are a woman in the elevator with three men, watch as they let you off first in the show of chivalry, but then hang back a little and watch them do the whole “no, after you” dance to each other, which I am convinced they do to parade their masculinity. Like whoever gets off last is the most masculine. Take that sentence as you will.

So, yeah, you don’t want me around in case of an emergency. Although I suppose it’s fortunate that in case of emergency, we know to avoid elevators.

One year ago ...

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Inzaburbs July 31, 2008 at 5:38 am

So you are the one who keeps shutting the elevator doors on me?
I am not too happy in elevators myself, luckily at this stage of my life I only usually have to get in one at the airport.
I remember in one building I worked, the night watchman got stuck in the elevator. He was about 75 and the next morning someone pushed the call button and found him all curled up asleep on its floor.
He had been pounding the emergency button and the alarm had been ringing at his desk.


CraftyMomOfFour July 31, 2008 at 7:45 am

Are you interested in an Emergency Coordinator position here in So Cal? We could have used you Tuesday! I was the one stuck reminding people to bring their keys and phones as they scurried toward the stairs….


Mama Ginger Tree July 31, 2008 at 7:54 am

Note to self: don’t ride in elevator with Marinka.


Madge July 31, 2008 at 7:54 am

i do want you around to make me laugh though. that is for sure. this was hilarious.


A Mom Two Boys July 31, 2008 at 8:19 am

Look at it this way, if there ever WERE an emergency, your co-workers would most likely take your cue and run screaming for the stairs as well. So, really, you’re probably the most qualified person to be Fire Warden.


anymommy July 31, 2008 at 9:00 am

Hilarious. But, you forgot woman with mammoth stroller who crowds in and rolls over everyone’s feet and then traps all passengers behind her and her screaming minions. That would be me. I know you can’t wait to meet me and take a ride.


KJJ July 31, 2008 at 10:40 am

Pig latin mystery solved.

I do the fake “Door Open” thing as well. I don’t go as far as pressing the “Door Close” button but if the person isn’t close enough to risk amputation by sticking their hand in the elevator door to prevent closure, then why should I care?

If I’m in a good mood, I’ll hold the door open if someone was within five feet but if you’re farther away that than, sorry. Tough. I just hope elevator karma doesn’t exist.

Love the blog, as you know.



selphie July 31, 2008 at 11:09 am

so now we know why you needed a pig latin translation!



wfbdoglover July 31, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Now wait a New York Minute. You know ANYBODY that has to wait for the next elevator is going to have an anxiety attack – WAITING. Because true New Yorkers do not wait – for anythinig and that is why you have left them standing, because you do not wait for them! LQTM.


jon August 1, 2008 at 2:58 am

LMAO at “dash for the elevator as though it is their one and only chance at happiness.”


Quart August 2, 2008 at 4:23 am

I like to tell people about my dreams when I’m in elvators. They seem to like it. They’re always frantically pushing the button to hold the door open for me.


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