Friday, May 11, 2012

Anecdotal Adventure!

So this weekend I'm running deliveries for Edible Arrangements (apparently Mothers' Day is a big deal for them), and two of them today were at this hotel in town...

I've been driving all over this stupid parking lot for ages, and I'm already irritated because it's taken me far too long to find such a painfully obvious building--I didn't see before that the order ticket has a small memo at the bottom stating that the address is in the hotel--and I can't find a parking place remotely near the entrance. As I have two large, fruit bouquets with foot-wide, cardboard bases, I don't relish the idea of carrying the things across a huge expanse of windy parking lot. I've circled it too many times already, and I'm ready to be finished.

Seriously hard to miss. I was annoyed.

When I get inside, one arrangement tucked against either hip, I search for the front desk, which is not, as one would expect, at the front. In fact, it rests inconspicuously behind a large pillar (really more like a section of wall, not unlike the ones they often have in Starbucks) in the far corner of the central hub. I stroll over, trying valiantly to maintain the illusion that I am remotely cheerful and personable, and spend a moment making small talk about how amazing pineapples are with a middle-aged woman also waiting at the desk. When the guy actually working comes to see if he can assist me--warning me in comedic tones that he hasn't had lunch yet, and it may not be safe to leave those with him--I discover that I must actually bring these monstrosities to the rooms they're meant to be sent to, and so lose all hope of just dropping them off and leaving.

I have to go the eleventh floor of the A wing and the fourth floor of the C wing. Deciding that it'll be simpler to start with the higher floor, I set out in search of the elevators, which are not placed anywhere painfully obvious to my sleep-deprived eyes. After struggling through a set of double doors with my burdens and stumbling on an area of mysterious shops and offices in the A wing, I realize that I must have passed the elevators already. I've barely made my way back down the hall toward the lobby when--Aha, elevator!

The button with the UP arrow is abnormally high on the wall, and I'm forced to perform an impressive and absurd balancing act rather than simply craning my hand around to hit it; I stand on one foot, bracing my left knee against the wall and setting one box-stabilized bouquet atop my thigh, then hurriedly punch the button to call the elevator. It arrives with a slightly jittery bounce that doesn't inspire much confidence. I stare at it for a moment, weighing my desire to finish the last two deliveries and leave without taking the stairs up eleven flights against the possibility that I am inevitably going to die in this elevator. The walls are covered in some material that looks as though it's meant to cover up repairs or remodeling or something, and if I've learned anything from movies, it's that scary elevators never lead anywhere good. Unless you happen to be a vengeful spirit, blood-thirsty psycho, or a peckish zombie.

Holy crap. I'm going to die.

I step dubiously inside and do my button-pushing trick again, peering anxiously about the empty elevator and listening to the workings take me up, floor by floor. The line of numbers above the sliding doors light up as I pass each floor with a slight click, and it's like the tic-toking of a very slow clock.


I keep wondering what happens if it stops suddenly and I'm stuck in here.


It's hard to ignore the knowledge that every second I'm in here, there's another few feet of empty elevator shaft underneath me.


Would I even survive that fall?


When 11 lights finally lights up and the doors open (with a slightly terrifying bounce), I breathe a sigh of relief and step out.

I'm in a small triangular area created by the intersecting halls. It's completely dark. All I can see outside of the small half-circle of light spilling out of the elevator behind me is a few dark corners and the shadowy walls, and my hands are full.

Wouldn't Star-Gauges Guy have told me at the front desk if they were remodeling or something? Why isn't this area off limits, or marked or anything? I'm distinctly unsettled, and I clutch the heavy fruit arrangements, hoping that the elevator doors aren't going to close behind me and leave me trapped alone in the dark. I'm uncomfortably aware of how defenseless I would be if something were to happen.

I've seen the movies. I know how this goes. I have two choices.
One: walk cautiously down that dark hallway in hopes of finding A1101, meet some blood-hungry terror, and die horribly in a deserted hotel room strewn with dusty tools and chunks of drywall.
Two: get my paranoid ass back down to the lobby and find a different way to the room.

That's not even a choice. I turn abruptly and search for the correct button, pushing it a little harder and faster than I might normally have done. I watch the darkness through the closing elevator doors, not quite convinced something isn't going to flash through at the last second and either leave me trapped in a creepy elevator with a murderous something, or stop the doors from closing and leave me face to face with whatever was just out of sight when I stepped out the first time.

The ride down is slower than the ascent somehow, and I spend it half-waiting for the theatrical lurch and creak one  always sees in films. Stepping out, back into what suddenly seems like an alternate world on the ground floor, is slightly frightening, because the elevator jerks again as it comes to a stop.

I'm slightly jumpy when I finally make it to the designated rooms, and I wonder to myself when I developed this irrational fear of riding in in elevators.

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