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Pennsylvania's Most Interesting Blog

24 August 2005

Love in an Elevator...

...ok, this absolutely MUST be reported as one of Penn's Most Interesting Happenings Today. The scene: the south elevator on the fourth floor of the Burrowes Bldg. on the Penn State campus. The posse: five German Dept. TA's/grad students and one friend of the TAs.

It was a beautiful afternoon, around 5 PM, a day of work behind us, including orientation for the incoming grad students and general preparing for the busy weeks ahead. I even sent off my newly-updated syllabus to my upcoming students (keep in mind that classes start NEXT week so I'm way ahead here, I figure after three years I can do that, or at least set up a guise of being prepared...), feeling good about having accomplished something to be crossed of my List of Things to Do.

My other colleagues in the cubes and I were thinking that winding the day down with dinner out might be a nice thing. So we hang out for a bit and go back and forth on where to go, who is going, etc. and we finally walk to the elevator; four of us stepped in and, as we were waiting for two others, I held the 'doors open' button til they got in and then hit the 'G' button to take us to our usual exit on the ground floor.

Doors shut, all six of us inside.

The elevator fires up as usual. About two seconds go by.


THUUUUUNK! THWACK! super loud and powerful downward thrust!!!!!!! Immediate halt!


we're jammed.

(Keep in mind that sudden harsh impacts with accompanying sounds are something I associate with being rear-ended, an experience which resulted in a neck injury I spent over 2 years re-habbing on, so this is not one of the most super fun sitches for me. But I remained calm. Because I have vigilance and resolve. AND I love freedom.)

After brief moments of collective 'WTF???" we try to hit the emergency button and no sound comes of us pulls the 'stop' thingie and that comes out. We check the elevator phone and....

all that is there is a blue wire

with no phone attached!

Cell phones, get the cell phones! we think.

Go over what the campus police number is. No, that's not it, try it with a five on the end instead. Yeah, four ones after that. OK it's ringing.

I'm on line with the campus police, a very calming voice at the end of the line, I have to think our urgency was relayed when I said 'there are SIX of us in here and one is getting pretty ansty".

He says an officer and an elevator tech is on the way, asks me for the elevator number on the button panel, and will call back at my friend's number I gave him cause my signal seems to be cutting out.

Minutes go by, air growing stickier, getting warmer.

We hear voices outside, and not too long after the doors start to pry open...the tech is there. We had actually only 'fallen' about three feet so we hop up to the floor, butt first, and all get out of the elevator. The young officer asks for our I.D.s to use to report the incident. Both he and the tech are very nice and came quickly to our resuce. We were only in there about 10-15 mins but...

...definitely the Most Interesting Elevator Ride in Burrowes. Naturally, we ran through all possible 'what if' scenarios afterwards, such as what if we hadn't had cell phones--we'd really have been screwed, as the alarm did not work and there was no way to communicate with the outside; even yelling would not have helped because everyone was gone for the day--or if we'd been stuck in there forever the department would have to seriously wonder what to do with significant portion of its teaching assistants suddenly GONE.

We stair it down four flights out of the builiding and proceed to Cafe 210, where we drink and eat til 11:30 PM, wow-ing the Euro Club by letting them know that WE, the hearty, had been there since about 5:30, forever bonded in Elevator Stuckage.

Top THAT here in your comments:


At 25 August, 2005 00:06, Blogger Joschka said...

I give a BIG jeers to that one!

As a survivor of the "Great Elevator Jam of '05", I will be signing copies of my inspirationally uplifting book "Life after the Elevator: Between Floors, Between Choices", tomorrow in the HUB...

At 25 August, 2005 09:00, Blogger Lisaopolis said...

I LOVE it, I LOVE it. Marvelous!

I'm now thinking that this experience merits a treatise: "Elevator as Metaphor: Stuck Between My Third and Fourth Years of My PhD Program--A Closer Look at Life on The Front".

Perhaps we can do an edited volume of shared experiences? Or even a...Festschrift??

At 25 August, 2005 10:07, Anonymous Anonym said...

Hi enjoyed my visit will be back.


At 26 August, 2005 14:10, Anonymous Ruth said...

I've been stuck in there numerous times - don't know what you're all complaining about.

And who the f**k is Joe, and why would we want to visit golf sites, huh?

At 27 August, 2005 01:02, Blogger psuacoustician said...

who all got stuck?

At 29 August, 2005 17:16, Anonymous Anonym said...

Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

OK, you have gotten your "mad" out there. You've been noticed. You've attracted pity. You've had your say. Now, please, go home and stop embarrassing yourself and shaming your own son's memory.

Don't think, for a single moment, that you have the market cornered on grief and loss. There are countless mothers who have lost loved ones. My son fought in the war, but I never had the President of the United States greet me, but if he had, he wouldn't have remembered my son's name either.

I am a counselor, and I meet with people all the time, who come to me with emotional wounds. It is a natural thing to feel personally wronged when a loved one, particularly a child, is taken, from them... regardless of the cause. They have lost something precious, and they are angry. They want someone, anyone, to "pay." And you have decided that the one "to pay" you for the loss of your son, Casey, is going to be George Bush. And you are "not leaving Crawford until he's held accountable."

Congratulations! You have now, single-handedly, shamed your own son's memory. Your son VOLUNTARILY, enlisted in the military armed forces, so that people such as yourself could retain the right to speak their minds, make public fools of themselves, verbally attack the office of the President of the United States, and (essentially) try to hold him hostage. You are just a different type of terrorist yourself, and doing the very thing your son died for: resisting.

War, in case you have never cracked open a history book, is ugly. People die. Had there not been ranks and files of anguished mothers who also lost their sons during the Revolutionary War, you would not be living here in America, enjoying the rights and freedoms you obviously take for granted, and feel you deserve. Freedom is paid for with blood. Had your son died in the Twin Towers on 9-1-1, you would be chaining yourself to a fence in Crawford, Texas, demanding that George Bush go bomb the hell out of some terrorists.

Your anger is really towards your son, because he joined the cause of freedom, of his own free will, and you disagreed with his choice to do so. You had personal goals and dreams for him, and now they cannot happen. His life was cut short, and YOU are feeling ripped off and wronged.

George Bush is not intimidated by you. He is not frightened by you. And quite frankly, he doesn't have the time for you. There are some 300,000,000 people in this country, and he knows precious few of them by name. Get over it. You do NOT speak for the majority of us. You speak for yourself and have, already, embarrassed way too many of us. Pack up your soapbox, and your Jane Fonda want-to-be cause, and go home. Go sit at your son's graveside and apologize to him for shaming him, the cause HE stood for, and his memory you have belittled.

Dr. Barbara Collier

At 29 August, 2005 18:59, Blogger Lisaopolis said...

Excellent, even the spammers have found me! Bush will not be intimidated.

Now why is it that people in Iraq are dying again?

Oh that's right: NO REASON. That the prezzie will deal with anyway...

At 31 August, 2005 17:59, Blogger Gina Grace said...

Spammers are invading blog comments, they did to mine as well. You can add a word recognition feature in your comments section that will help reduce this. -G


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