Elevator of Doom
Whether it's falling down an elevator shaft, getting crushed by the doors (caught in the elevator door or between the elevator and door or shaft), or the elevator itself plunging to the lower depths or suddenly lurching up while you're getting on or off, it's a lousy way to go.
And even if you don't die in an elevator free-fall (such fatalities are in fact fairly rare) if you should be unlucky enough to be in one you'll probably end up with one or more of the following, like victims of a 2006 plunge in a Toronto parking garage:
- Serious fractures to both feet. Emotional shock including depression, anxiety neurosis, hysteria, recurring nightmares and insomnia.
- Crushed fibula and dislocated talus, accompanied by "post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and a significant fear of elevators."
- Left Lisfranc joint fracture, a dislocation displacing all left toes and a right ankle sprain. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and significant fear of elevators. Dizziness, constant headaches and low back pain.
- Crushing injuries to both feet, including a double compound fracture and pilon fracture. Torn ligaments.
- Compression spine fracture, an injury to the lumbar spine and tissue injuries around the left shoulder blade. Fatigue, stiffness, inability to sit for prolonged periods of time, depression and impaired memory.
But if you're still not convinced, here's something to think about before stepping into that crowded elevator...
...or before getting into one after you've watched Titanic...
Andrew Polakowski, an 18-year-old freshman at Ohio State University, was among the last of 24 students who crammed into a dormitory elevator on Friday night, October 20, at 11:20 p.m. The students were all leaving the dorm together and wanted to stay together. The elevator has a maximum weight capacity of 2,500 pounds — a total probably exceeded by 1,000 pounds with 24 students on board. As Polakowski entered, the elevator car began to descend without its doors closing. He tried to jump out, was pinned by the elevator, and was killed.
Luckily her husband heard her screams. He thought she was being attacked by the East Side rapist, but when he arrived with the super they "jumped down onto the roof and broke open the top of the elevator with crowbars, finding Mrs. Piamenta with water up to her neck and climbing, and holding a panicky Chloe well above her head."
But Suzana Piamenta's ordeal didn't take place in the North Atlantic. She was battling the forces of nature in the basement of her Upper East Side building, the victim of two of New York's worst horrors: a waterpipe break and an out-of-control elevator....
Mrs. Piamenta's predicament began just after 7 A.M., when she took her Jack Russell terrier, Chloe, back inside her building at 241 East 86th Street after the dog's morning constitutional. When she pushed the elevator button for the 18th floor, the elevator instead went in the other direction, dropping to the basement, she said. For most people, this would be frightening enough, but Mrs. Piamenta, 22, soon had another concern: the water surging through the elevator door.
''The next thing I knew, the water was up to my waist and Chloe was scratching all over me, trying to climb up,'' she said. ''Honestly, I thought I was going to die. The water was cold and everything was getting dark. I never in a million years thought this could happen to me. I just panicked.'
''If it had been a few seconds later," her loving hubby told the Times, "they would have been dead.''
I work on the third floor, and our lift is old, cranky, and slow, but it's still tempting sometimes. I actually do a lot of running up and down stairs from department to department all day. I tend to use the elevator mainly when I get in in the morning, go to lunch, and leave at the end of the day. I guess it makes it feel official, or something. Going in style. An "Elvis has left the building" type thing.
Some people motivate themselves to take the stairs by thinking of it as cardio. According to one stairstep fanatic: "Stair climbing is time efficient as it burns an unbelievable 300 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your pace and body weight!" I don't look at taking the stairs as a supplemental workout, myself. I'm quite fit enough already, thanks. But it is time efficient — almost always faster than taking the lift in my case. Like it's faster to bicycle commute than to take the T.
But there are apparently even people who do it to limit their carbon footprint, which may or may not work...
It's true that if everyone who could take the stairs did take thestairs, we'd see some significant energy savings. Of course, sincestair-climbing requires that we expend nine times as much energy as wedo standing still, a collective elevator boycott would probably lead usto higher food consumption, which would require more water and fossilfuels and produce more packaging waste...Lucky for us, soon we won't have to climb stairs or ride in elevators. You can already experience a crowded lift in San Francisco or an old empty cruddy one in Havanna...
... VIRTUALLY, without leaving your bath tub, or wherever it is you spend most of your time. Which takes telecommuting to new heights.