When I stopped by the library to drop off some books Saturday, I noticed they had a big sign outside that said, "Book Sale Downstairs
." So I walked through the main foyer over to the open elevator door and breezed in, barely glancing at a sign taped outside of the door.
I settled in and pressed the button for the Basement
. Nothing happened. I pressed Basement
again...and again, nothing happened. I could feel my face growing red as a few people watched me from the other side of the library. With my dignity on the line, I made a command decision. I pressed the "Close Door" button and figured if it wasn't going to really take me down I could at least hole up for a minute, then hit the "Open Door" button and walk out as I pleased, allowing people to think I'd gone down but returned when I hadn't found what I was looking for.
This seemed brilliant until the doors actually closed and I suddenly remembered the sign outside of the elevator. I had a vague recollection of the words "Don't use" and "Elevator" but damned if I could remember the rest. I closed my eyes and banged my head against the wall. Fuck. What if I'm stuck in this god forsaken box simply because of my pride?
I briefly imagined the beating my dignity was going to take when my rescue by the fire department was broadcast on the five o'clock news. I can just hear the television reporters now, "Ms. Rice, exactly how was it that you came to be stuck in the elevator? Wasn't there a clearly posted sign that read 'Do not use elevator'? Can you read Ms. Rice or were you here for their Adult Literacy Program?"
As a last ditch effort to save what was left of my dignity, I said a quick prayer and once again pressed Basement.
It wasn't until the elevator actually dinged and lurched downwards that I realized that I had been holding my breath. Within seconds the car came to a stop and hesitantly opened its doors to reveal the Basement floor. I bolted out of the car and made a mad dash back up through the stairwell. I would be damned if I was getting on that elevator again. I paused outside of the exit and collected myself, then ever so cooly, I walked through the door and past the elevators, allowing myself a good look at the sign which actually read, "Do not use elevators in the event of a fire."