Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Musings On An Elevator
Yesterday I was reading a short story--well, more like a novella--that was so clever and thought-provoking, I mulled over the plot well after I'd finished the story. This isn't a book review, but let me give you the gist, dear readers:
Guy is in the elevator, girl shouts to hold the door. As she rushes in, she drops her phone, her purse slips, her hair covers her face, the elevator door closes. Neither person has gotten any kind of look at the other and as the elevator starts to drop, it abruptly jerks to a halt and everything goes pitch dark. The kicker? The guy is afraid of the dark. Course, over the hours they're stuck, we learn why he's claustrophobic, but I loved the twist that she was the calming influence.
Basically, the whole tale takes place in the dark, in the elevator. They told each other things that normally--in the light of day--they never would have revealed; secrets and fears, sadness and joy. And all without knowing what the other person looked like; no preconceived notions based on what they could see--just two voices in the small, enclosed space. It was a great premise. And a really good story.
So, after I was done reading, I couldn't stop thinking about how this couple got to know each other, sight unseen, when most likely they never would have met or had a conversation otherwise. She was sort of high-powered exec, he was an EMT, but tattooed and pierced, and yet they had so many things in common.
How often do people disregard or judge others based on how they look? All. The. Time. Every single moment. Imagine the people we don't get to know, the stories we never share, the lives that will never touch ours...because of what we see in another--or think we see.
On an entirely separate note, though still elevator-related, a memory was brought back to life by the story...
When I was a senior in high school, I had a most vivid and horrifying nightmare. I can recall it just as clearly now:
I was going to the dentist. His office was downtown, on the twelfth floor (as in real life). I got into the elevator with a woman and a baby in a stroller. We got to the tenth floor and the elevator slammed to a stop, jolted up and down, then began to fall. I will never forget that feeling, or the look of shock and terror on that woman's face. I woke up just before the crash, my stomach in my throat, my body in a lurching arrhythmia of imminent death.
Two months later, I had a dentist appointment. I stared at that elevator door. When it opened, I couldn't force myself to step in. Shaking, I turned away and took the stairs. For years after--truly, years--I refused to take an elevator beyond the tenth floor.
In the world of dream interpretation, I still haven't figured that one out...