I got stuck in the elevator!
This week I stepped in the elevator across from our department. The doors closed. I pushed the “1” button . . . nothing happened. No problem. I will just get off and use the stairs. I push the “2” button . . . still nothing happened. The doors stayed SHUT and I was stuck! Still, it is not rising to the level of a panic episode. I did what any self-respecting Behaviorist would do . . . I pushed the buttons HARDER!
You may be surprised to know that did not work either. Now I begin to feel a bit of tension run through me. (Mostly because I had been on my way to the restroom! ?) I try to remain calm and think of my options. Unfortunately, all I can think of is “What if no one finds me?”
“What if the elevator falls?”
“I need to go the bathroom!!!”
Now I am past “mildly anxious” . . . I am working up to “full blown panicked”! It felt like I had been trapped for a very long time. Through my mind runs crazy thoughts (yes, I do realize they are crazy!) “I am going to grow old and die right here in the Region 4 elevator!” “This is not the place or the outfit that I wanted to die in!” “They will never figure out my filing system!"
I call out, quietly at first, “I am stuck in the elevator.” I progress to, “I AM STUCK IN THE ELEVATOR!!!”
Just as I am forming the words “TELL MY FAMILY I LOVE THEM!”, I hear an angelic voice from the floor below say, “Is someone on the elevator?”
In my most mature and psychologically sound voice I respond, “YESSSSS”! All of a sudden, the elevator begins to descend to the first floor. The doors open and the most handsome man I have ever seen (after having been stuck in an elevator) is standing there. I think I even saw a halo-shaped light around his head!
“Thank you for saving me!” I say . . . trying not to sound too pitiful. He calmly looks at me and says, “Ma’am, you were in there for less than a minute.”
Well, as I rethink it . . . there was NOT a halo around his head! Chagrined, I walk calmly out with my head held high . . . straight to the restroom!
What did I learn from this? (Besides—Bathroom first, then elevator!) When we are anxious, we lose all sense of time and good judgement. That would not be the best time to make major decisions. How often have we rushed to judgement or decision making in times of stress? I know that those are often the decisions I regret!
(Someday we can talk about the time that I dyed my hair red during finals in graduate school.)