Monday, August 15, 2022

The Soapbox: The Girl In The Elevator

Today on the way up to my office one of my worst nightmares came true.  The elevator didn’t seem to be cooperating, but the odd jerking was subtle enough that I wasn’t quite sure if I should panic just yet.

Then it became clear.  This was definitely a time to panic.  The elevator was stuck and I was between floors….I think.  Logically I knew I could easily press the alarm button or even worse “Door Open”, but I was honestly afraid of what might happen if I didn’t see daylight.

First, I wondered if I would just plummet to the ground and die on a Saturday morning without anyone noticing until Monday.  Rigor mortis could possibly set in by then.  Most likely it would.  Don’t Google that.

I’ve watched all the movies.  Stay calm.  I’ve seen this before. Oh how I wished I were surrounded by two or three who would sit on the floor with me and finish sentences that begin with “If I ever get out of here”!  I can assure you that I would never finish it with “I’m getting my eyes lasered”.

I knew that if I jumped in the air that wouldn’t work. Movies.  I remember the number to 9-1-1.  That’s good.  Next step:  time to re-evaluate my life.  Just in case.  That was for my Mama Debbie who is the Queen of Precaution.  She begins most of her sentences with the words you need to and ends most of them with just in case.  I wondered what she was doing that very minute.

It’s really true.  Being alone in an elevator really did cause me to reflect on what was most important in life.  Dying alone in a closed space and being forgotten until Monday didn’t seem like the kind of death I had hoped for really.  I was thinking something more like being 110 years old, wrinkled with a little red lipstick, and pain free, in some Victorian canopy bed somewhere with my family all around telling me that it was okay to go home to Jesus.  But not like this.   This was so…unglamorous.

I thought about the column I had been writing in my head for the past few days and knew that since I had never pecked it out, my thoughts were likely going to die along with me in that elevator shaft.  Gosh, Max was gonna be disappointed that I missed the print deadline.  Would I starve before the inevitable crash?  My stomach began to growl.  Yes.  Or perhaps the oxygen would run out and I might suffocate minutes before being rescued.  I pulled out my inhaler, just in case.

It was a shame about my column.  If I were to have avoided my pending elevator death, I would have revisited my old February friend Valentine’s Day, like some long-lost love and pointed out a few tangible things that most convey romantic affection to women, as if any real men actually read my column.  Things like red wine and roses, Jazz, garlic sautéed in butter, and chocolate (We’re back to that again.  Cures menopause—they don’t make this stuff up.). 

And, of course, what would Valentine’s Day be without a classic chick flick to rekindle the dream of romance I still hold dear?  It would have been good to remind all of my readers how we humans love our fairy tales and often Tweet about how close we are to obtaining them with some hash tag like #lovemylife.  Would you quit gagging over my optimism and applaud cynicism if I took a more logical theory on love and simply said, “Those movies make for good writing material.”? 

I tried to remember that You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle are fiction and refocus my thoughts on the eternal truths about love, mainly because those are words that wouldn’t die with me right there in that elevator on a random Saturday.  I was trying to review, once again, just exactly how it is that love never fails.  How it is sincere and never all puffed up with pride.  For goodness sake, Tom Hanks is 57 years old and this world is passing away.  The girl in the elevator needed to think about these admirable things just to stay alive!  She needed something with a No Fade Guarantee for these last few minutes of life.

I reflected on love’s interchangeable ability to depict her beauty like a bride from some far away culture at a week’s long wedding feast with three or four wardrobe changes.  Some days in bright orange with gold jewelry and deepest purple, then in silky red and silver, but finally in the dress of her choosing she is handed over from her father to a new life-long protector in the presence of those who know her well.  And leave it to the ancient Greeks to pen love for dummies, portraying her many facets like agape (unconditional charity), philia (friendship), eros (romance), or storge (affection).  We want them all!  The girl in the elevator wished she had done a better job of this in her forty something years of life.

So here I was, with precious little time.  As I considered all the many types of love we want to receive, when we give love, I wondered if we couldn’t in the very least devote ourselves to a brotherly friendship type of love to all?  Could we not keep love and faithfulness so close that the two are like a Valentine’s Day diamond necklace from Tiffany’s, bound around the neck? 

Couldn’t we find it in our hearts in the very least to love our neighbors as ourselves—neighbors that could even be considered enemies?  And how?  My goodness the girl in the elevator is asking some difficult questions.  I really wanted out of here.

To love is to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.  To love is to express patience and kindness, but in no particular order.  Love does not envy a neighbor’s success.  It doesn’t get angry….easily.  But when it does, the record of the offense is thrown away.  That’s hard to do.  We may pretend to do it, but we then hide our neighbors’ offenses like little gold nuggets of convenience so we can dig them up should we ever need them.  That helps us to protect someone.  Ourselves.  Just in case.  Oh, girl in the elevator, you have really crossed the line.

True love protects the other person.  It trusts.  It doesn’t lose hope.  It perseveres when all hope is gone.

My thoughts stopped spinning when they landed on this truth:  And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  It was very quiet in that elevator. 

I suppose you are wondering by now how I ever got out of that tight spot.  To tell you the truth, after I had cataloged enough thoughts about true love to prevent a full-blown panic attack, the elevator door began to open.  I prepared myself for the worst.  But don’t worry, Dear Reader, I had obviously taken a trip up, down, and then just lost track for a while.  I may have taken the long way around, but funny thing, I ended up right where I needed to be.  I stuck my chin out and unlocked my office door, mentally striking through all the things I wouldn’t write about in this column, including chocolate or menopause (for now).  Though there was nobody around to see how thankful I was to be alive, I’ll admit I secretly wished I could have left that darn girl in the elevator.  Somehow, she really got under my skin.

Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper. Follow Brandi on Twitter @BrandiChambless

Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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