All the Advice I Have if You’re Trapped in an Elevator Right Now

  • Harry Peter Sanderson

1- Touch a Mirror to Confirm Your Situation

If there’s a mirror present, don’t be so pathetic as to let yourself take comfort in the illusion of expanded space. Walk up to it immediately and press your finger against the glass to verify it’s a solid barrier. This isn’t explicitly your fault, but you’re also not free of any responsibility. There’s no use denying reality any longer. You messed up, bud, and you have to own up to it now. You’re stuck in a lift.

2- Think Figuratively

You should probably begin to think of this as not just physical, but meta-physical imprisonment. Materially, you have no free will, and certainly there was nothing you could have done to avoid getting yourself stuck in an elevator.

Here’s a poor analogue: Think of being stuck in a broken elevator instead of being in a working elevator as equivalent to being in a regular working elevator instead of the eponymous glass elevator from Roald Dahl’s 1964 novella “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Chapter 25: The Great Glass Lift. In the Glass Lift, any movement in any direction is possible. This allows both vertical and lateral progression, thus giving you greater net freedom than being in a regular elevator, in which you can only move up and down. The regular elevator seems like a prison, comparatively. Now, equate your current situation to that, and recognize your lack of freedom as the same difference, yet downgraded to a level of complete restriction, since your elevator can move neither up nor down.

What comes with such restriction is an inward dilation of possibility re-spacial manoeuvrability, resulting in a catastrophically uninteresting situation. The reason Roald Dahl included the glass elevator as an event in the novel is because of its unadulterated relationship with infinite spacial and figurative possibility. You have no narrative kinetic energy – no potential. Roald Dahl wouldn’t write a novel about you; he wouldn’t even mutter a rhyming couplet. No one cares about someone who got themselves trapped in an elevator. There’s no climax to your story – you’re the victim of an improbable possibility and it’s disgusting.

3- Write a Note

If you have a pen and paper on you, you should probably consider penning a letter to your family, since there’s a decent chance you will never see them again. Begin with a tasteful nicety like ‘Hello mother, how are you- well? I hope this letter finds you in good time…’ etc. etc., but don’t waste too much time with filagree: continue ‘If you are reading this, I have died in an elevator accident..’ etc. etc.

End with an apology for having embarrassed your family (since you have, undoubtedly). Be careful to understand that this final note is all anyone will have to remember you by. No one is writing a eulogy, champ, not for someone who died in an elevator. It would be both embarrassing and depressing for everyone involved.

4- Consider These Statistics but Second Guess them Inwardly

An average of 26 people die in elevators every year. That’s far less than car crashes, which could either be a positive or a negative. I’m not 100% sure that figure relates to stopped elevators, also – in a sense what you are in now might not be considered an elevator since it doesn’t have the potential to elevate anything. It’s neutered and useless and so is your situation and so are you, and so your death might be considered a Death of Ambiguous Circumstances and not an elevator related death, strictly.

So is all the advice I have for you- there is nothing else. Keep your head up, bud. I’m sure you’ll be home safe soon.

  • Harry Sanderson

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