Elevator Plunge

You know the theory that if you are in a plunging elevator you should jump into the air at the last moment before impact? First of all — take a physics class. Second of all, don’t try it in a Turkish elevator because it doesn’t work in one of those either.

Here’s the setup. Turkish elevators are pretty small by American standards. Four people are cozy. Six intimate. Four of us climbed into one on the Asian side for an appointment on the sixth floor with an agency. It was the style with the door that swings — not slides — open. We climbed aboard, I made my obligatory “little Turkish elevator”  remark and pressed “6”.

We go up three floors, watching them roll by the doorway which I am standing against. Then we stop. We are not there yet. Have I pressed the wrong button?

We start to descend. More like: we start to slip. Then the lights go out.

Then we plunge.

[insert whistling sound here]

We hit. Major bang. I keep my feet but that sucked and we land three feet under the first floor. Pitch black darkness.

I declare: “I have a flashlight” and I unzip my most awesome Patagonia bag and pull out the Qualcomm combo-laser pointer LED flashlight.

My colleagues are very upset. Thank heavens no one broke wind or worse. I turn on the laser dot and that gets a laugh. then the light. Light is good. Then I find the alarm button and I push it a couple times.

I hear muffled Turkish sounds like “copchik?” I don’t even try to reply. I hit the alarm again for good measure.

And then the claustrophobia strikes. Will we be there for 30 seconds? 30 minutes? 30 hours?  A couple minutes go by, we make little jokes but none of us are excited. Then the door opens and up we climb to fresh air and I immediately think about those poor souls stuck under collapsed buildings in Haiti.

I guess the guy on the roof with the crank was tired. If we were in North Carolina Cherie Berry, the lady who’s face is on the elevator inspection certificate would have saved us. There’s even a song about her.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

2 thoughts on “Elevator Plunge”

  1. Holy crap. I’m glad none of you were seriously injured or worse. My brother is in the elevator business in NYC and he’s seen some terrible things.

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