Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Elevator Almost Killed Us

The other day I saw what Annie looks like when she thinks she's about to die. Annie is my close friend at work who I caught wearing a Ring Pop last week.

I asked her if she wanted to head down the street to grab a mid-morning treat. We hopped onto the elevator and began our descent.

Annie was regaling me with stories of her baby or some court hearing or something else. I wasn't really listening because I was distracted by her gnawing on the candy necklace hanging around her neck.

Then, suddenly, somewhere around the thirteenth floor, the power went out and the elevator came to a screeching halt. The lights were out and the elevator became so dark that you almost couldn't see the hand in front of your face.

And Annie Quinn Wilson, super mom, afraid of nothing, defender of the universe, SCREAMED.


You guys. SHE SCREAMED. Not just like a vibrant gasp. Not a reasonable yelp. An actual "I just saw the ghost of George Washington" scream.

Then, in her high heels, she SPRINTED the length of the relatively small elevator and dug all ten of her fingernails into the meatiest part of my left arm.

And that's when I had a flashback.

The year was 2011. Annie and I were in New York City for a law school competition. Neither of us were very familiar with the city but we were excited to get out an explore it.

We attempted to go to some touristy place. We were excited to be there. We looked up directions. We took what we thought was going to be the right subway train to the right subway stop. We exited. And we found ourselves in a neighborhood that didn't look all that touristy.

So we began walking around, looking for signs or some indication that we were headed in the right direction. But as we walked, the neighborhood got sketchier and sketchier. People stared at us. I'm sure we looked like deer in the headlights.

Then I heard Annie say, "why does every store we pass have the word 'Harlem' in it?"

We took a few more steps before it fully clicked. And that was the first time Annie Quinn and those ten sharp nails met the meatiest part of my arm.

If memory serves, we then sprinted in perfect unison until we could see the dark silhouette of the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.

We didn't know then, and I still don't really know now (anyone?), whether Harlem is still a dangerous neighborhood. But as we walked through it, getting stared at by dozens of people who did not appear to want to be our friends, everything bad we had ever heard about Harlem rushed through our minds.

And so there we were. Three and a half years later. Those same ten nails and that same meatiest part of the arm, in a darkened elevator somewhere around the thirteenth floor in Salt Lake City. The Harlem of Utah.

Annie: Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh ohmygosh! I'm so scared! What are we going to do!? This is it! We're going to die in here! What about my baby!? What about my husband?! What about my baby AND my husband!?

Eli: Can I have some of that candy necklace?

Annie: NOW'S NOT THE TIME!

And then, the lights came back on and the elevator moved to the first floor. Annie turned to the woman who was in the elevator with us and whom we seemed to notice just then for the first time.

Annie: Thank you for sharing this absolutely terrifying experience with us.

The woman nodded and awkwardly escaped.

Annie walked out crossing herself and mumbling what I think may have been the Lord's Prayer.

~It Just Gets Stranger

24 comments:

  1. Ooooh! I get to be the first comment! Ouch. Nails in arms are not fun.

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  2. Ogden is the Harlem of Utah. I live here, I know.

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    1. Ogden is nothing if you've ever been through South Los Angeles.

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    2. I thought West Valley was the Harlem of Utah....

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    3. Kearns... Don't go there if you want to live to leave

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    4. I've lived in Ogden and Detroit. They're basically the same place.

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    5. I don't tell people that I grew up in Kearns, they always ask if I was in a gang, even when it was Institute class. (I did go to Weber, so I've got the Ogden thing covered too).

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    6. Um... I understood that Rose Park is the Harlem of Utah. Ha ha... Kearns... oh man... And Ogden is looking prettier! At least around the temple...

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  3. At least it wasn't for too long. I was stuck in my office elevator for OVER TWO HOURS before they got me out. It never occured to the building management that they should have upgraded the electrical wiring that was done in the 70s. Worst part? I didn't have my purse or my cell phone with me, I was just going down to the mail room. So two hours in a dark, smelly, hot elevator with nothing but me and my insane thoughts. And no candy necklaces to chew on.

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  4. I am a white girl living in Harlem and I haven't died yet. So that's good news, right? But I guess only time will tell....

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  5. In reading your original post, I noticed that you didn't beautify daily back then. No wonder your hair looks so much better now!

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  6. Aww I was hoping for a Grey's Anatomy-esque elevator story. You know. Where you get stuck in an elevator and simultaneously perform complicated surgery on yourself AND another passenger all while confessing your undying love for your co-worker? A girl (okay, fine, I'm a guy) can dream :-P

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    1. Hahaha I love you anonymous guy. This comment wins.

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  7. Okay, so I don't know you personally, Eli, but from what I've read on your blog, you're not typically the one to keep a cool head. Were you really the one who screamed like you saw the ghost of George Washington? Are you really the one who clung on to the nearest human? But maybe you switched the names for the purpose of this story? Just to throw us off?

    I'm glad the Harlem of Utah hasn't killed you and your ring pop friend!

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    1. Well obviously my weekly Lagoon night with Ms. Hannah has trained me for adventure.

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    2. I was thinking the same thing... *cough* *cough* LEOTRIX

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    3. The only reason I semi believe Eli in this story is because he didn't cling on to the other woman in the elevator and he managed to keep all his clothes on... If Eli had been the screamer, he most certainly would have been naked too by the time the elevator started moving again. Don't you think.

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  8. I'm betting that the fingernails were ALL NEW, after three-and-a-half years. Jus' sayin'. They didn't look three-and-a-half years long in that photo where she's got the ring pop.

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  9. Hey Eli....this is a little off topic, but.....how would you and your friends like to come and crash my daughter's fancy schmancy wedding on Nov. 22 in SLC? We're going to need some non-hoity toity entertainment and I think you and your crew would be just the ticket! The pay won't be great but there will be all kinds of delicious food! Also, I promise that nobody will have better hair than you, even if that means I have to take my rat tail comb to the groom's hair :)

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  10. Don't worry about Harlem! It's not dangerous, and they have some amazing restaurants.

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  11. Off topic, do we know what kind of law Eli practices (am I allowed to ask that? Is it infringing on his privacy?)....because today I was thinking of him being a defense attorney and the shenanigans he would pull in court and I giggled for a really long time. My co-workers are a little freaked out. Frankly, I just can't see him as a lawyer...maybe more an art teacher. Or puppeteer.

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    1. http://www.kmclaw.com/attorneys-Eli-McCann.html

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  12. Haha!!!! ...puppeteer...yep that seems right.

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  13. He should start an Ask Eli blog or something where we can ask him all of our questions regarding Law, Art, Puppeteering, how he has been naked in so many places and never been arrested....and he could give out advise (like the sweatblock) about achieving his perfect hair....

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