Trapped in a lift and thinking about comics

Karma rewarded me for leading a blameless life by trapping me in a lift today.

I was given a good 30 minutes and 3.5 feet of floor space all to myself, to reflect on what I might have done to offend the cosmos, when the lift in my apartment block stalled.

The first response was annoyance. I heard the gears of the lift groan and slur like a record powering down but figured that this was something that could be easily solved by tapping the button for the third floor just a couple of times….

The true situation dawned on me twenty seven presses later. I had mistakenly thought that faults with lifts could be cured with less difficulty than a frozen PC.

Clearly I am a Luddite. Lifts are a Martian technology way in advance of processors and software. You have been warned.

Lifts are evil.

Ok, what’s the procedure here? What’s the etiquette for being trapped in a lift? What have I seen in movies that could practically help me right now? Scream like a girl? Bond like neutrality, perhaps?

Someone is bound to come along in the next few minutes and find me. Best act suave.

They could be pretty. This is how I meet Ms Right. I could be boring my grand kids with a tale of how my fearless resolve in the face of danger won over grandma’s heart one day.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more action films than ones about romance. And given the mild penchant I have for justifiable vandalism in public spaces, busting open the roof hatch and navigating the labyrinth of air conditioning ducts to freedom seemed like a good idea. I did try it.

It might sound a bit nit-picky, but knocking the roof off a lift is pretty much impossible. You’re more likely to hear someone scream in space. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to suspend my disbelief when I watch Die Hard again.

Luckily, the owners of the building had put up a little sign on one of the walls to help me feel less awkward about needing to be rescued:

helpful sign

Such sage like advice saw my thumb marry the alarm button for five minutes before hearing yet more groaning from the cables suspending the lift. Realisation turned to panic.

The notion that the cable could snap meant I saw my life flash before my eyes. Unfortunately, my life up until now has now hasn’t been that interesting, so I played back the trailers from Tarintino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse in my mind instead. I’d make a good Machete I think…


Politeness was going to get me nowhere. But the 24 hour breakdown number located above the alarm button just might. Luckily I had my mobile with me AND it was charged. Had I known my luck was going to be this good, I would have bought a lottery ticket.

My mouth stuttered as a woman answered the call. All-right then: how do I say “I’m trapped in a lift” without sounding like I’m joking? If she thinks I’m joking, I’m fucked.

“Hello, is that the 24 hour emergency breakdown number for lifts?”

“Urm, yeah?” said the voice on the other end. Why is it politeness genuinely met with bafflement these days?

“I’m trapped in a lift. The sign said to call this number,” I said.
It could be a joke sign, I thought. Or the company that managed the lifts may have gone bust. The fonts used on the sign were pretty ancient. We’ve been through at least two recessions in the past twenty years. I don’t think lift-people make all that much.

“Oh. Right,” she said indifferently.

“Give me your address and one of our engineers will be around to rescue you.”

I gave her my address. I tried giving her my phone number but she said she already had it stored on her mobile phone from when I called her and not to bother – so definitely not Mrs Right then.
The engineer eventually came and pulled the doors opened.

I assumed he used some sort of machine or device to help him and NOT his bare hands. I didn’t ask. I had tried myself earlier on, so the last thing I needed was confirmation that I need to visit the gym.

What has this all got to do with horror comics?

For the few moments – and they were brief – that I thought the cable would snap, I took great comfort in having got issue one out the door.

At least, I thought, I had got a message out there and into the ether of tomorrow’s back issue sections and future dusty attics.

If I had been standing there and still thinking how about I should have, would have or could have have made my own comic, then I would have been infinitely more scared.

But I wasn’t.

posted by admin at 11:34 pm  

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