Get Me Out of Here!

July 11, 2013 at 11:53 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So, I was briefly trapped in our building’s elevator yesterday.  Since we’re 51 floors up, I must take two separate elevators and an escalator in

Thankfully I didn’t have to resort to this. Yet.

order to reach my office every day.  At the end of the work day yesterday, all I wanted to do was get out of the building and on with my night but nooo, technology didn’t want to cooperate.  I was the only person in the first elevator ride down which in itself is unusual for 5pm on a work day, and then when we arrived at the floor the doors didn’t open – also unusual.  I made some disgruntled noises, hit the ‘Open’ button a few times, jumped up and down in hopes of dislodging whatever was keeping the doors shut then realized if there was a serious mechanical issue jumping up and down might not benefit me in the long run, and then began frantically jamming the ‘Open’ button.  A few (long) minutes passed and I was almost to the point of hitting the ‘Help’ button when I decided to go for broke and choose a random floor instead.  Lo and behold, the blasted thing moved and the doors opened when we arrived at the floor in question.  Since I’m a risk taker, I stayed put and hit my original destination once again.  It worked that time and I was able to make a graceful exit, even though on the inside I was hollering and creating a scene from my near-stuck experience.  I’ve mentioned before that they always seem to be doing work on the elevators here and it’s not exactly comforting.  I didn’t have any mishaps this morning but who knows what lies ahead in my future.

I should probably start packing snacks, just in case.

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Spook City

October 31, 2011 at 11:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Happy Halloween!  In honor of this creepy holiday, I thought I’d share the closest thing I have to a personal ghost story.  Disclaimer to my mom – I don’t know if I ever told you about this or not but since I’m too old to ground I guess it doesn’t matter.  You’ve been warned.

Okay so I grew up in a small town and as a teenager I would frequently look for things to do that didn’t involve sitting in someone’s garage or slinging ice cream at the good old DQ.  Often, a group of us would just drive around and enjoy as much freedom as we could as 16-year-olds.  We all had our favorite good country roads and along one of them sat a desolate, creepy looking house.  Legend had it that a crazy old recluse of a man used to live there and in the 1950’s he would appear in town on random nights that seemingly coincided with the disappearance of small neighborhood children.  The story was that the man would lure them back to his home for all sorts of awful and unthinkable crimes and he went even crazier and disappeared before he could be caught.  I should probably stop right here and acknowledge that when I say “according to legend” what I really mean is “according to this one kid I knew who may or may not have been full of shit”.  Now that’s out of the way, I’ll continue.  According to legend, if you could get inside the house you could still see blood stains on the walls and little kid shoe’s and toys littering the floor.

Would have been nice if there had been a sign, but no

Of course, some friends and I thought it would be a great idea to try to break in.  Now, the house in question was across the street from the local meat processing plant (hey, I told you…small town).  A group of us gathered one night around midnight and parked our cars in the plant’s parking lot, then sneaked our way across the street.  We had barely gotten on the property when the pain began.  I felt it first – the shock of an electric fence.  I’d never encountered one before and I hope to hell I never do again because it hurt.  As soon as I yelped, everyone else got shocked too and the group of us bumbled around in the dark only to tangle ourselves further in the electricity.  Why was there even electricity running through an area that was supposed to be entirely deserted anyway?  Well, probably to keep kids like us off the premises but it seemed a valid question at the time.  So there were, five or six girls and guys howling with pain and confusion in front of a supposedly haunted house in the middle of a field across from a slaughter house.  That’s when we heard it.

Mooing.  There were obviously cows in distress and as we tried to extract ourselves from the electric mess we’d gotten ourselves into, the stench hit our nostrils.  Burning flesh.  We could hear the hissing coming from the plant and the cries from the animals and the smell was so overpowering that even the carnivorous among us were hiding their noses in their shirts.  After panicking and freaking out for a bit we all managed to get away from the fence and we stared at each other in horror.  No way were we going to try to get back in the house, especially not with the god-awful smell permeating our entire lives.  After a few dry heaves, we got back in our cars and got the hell out of there.

This was all weird enough and was more than we needed to convince ourselves to leave well enough alone.  However, the story isn’t over yet.  I was telling the father of a friend of mine about this the next day and he stopped me, confused, because he knew the foreman at the processing plant and said what I was describing just wasn’t possible.  Because they stop production (fancy word for slaughtering) at 6pm, every single day.  No exceptions.  I thought he was messing with me but a little independent research proved he was correct.  I told my friends about this and after a good bit of time truly freaking out, we decided to stick to daylight joy rides in the country.

True story.  Happy Hauntings!

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Still Stuck

September 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Yup, they’re still down there.  33 men have been trapped over 2,000 feet underground for 55 nights, which I can only assume are the longest 55 nights they’ve ever experienced.  The good news is that there has been remarkable headway in the drilling to reach them and they could be out in just a few weeks, which is way ahead of the Christmas time frame they were previously working with.  As of now, they’re all relatively healthy and as sane as they can be in the circumstances.  The bad news is they’re still all trapped deep within a mine.

Many a vigil is being held for these guys at Camp Hope, the camp right outside the mine that family and friends are occupying until the men get out

Try and think about every single thing you’ve done, every place you’ve been, all of the hours between work, school and home – all of the life you’ve lived for the last two months.  Now imagine spending all of that time deep, deep underground with only a group of your coworkers to keep you company.  They’re not getting paid for this and will be lucky if they all escape with their health.  It seriously boggles my mind and, while I’m sure there will lucrative TV and book deals in their futures (with perhaps a movie thrown in for good measure), I’m sure this is something they would all rather have done without.

In order to actually get out of the mine, they’re going to have to be individually raised in a very teeny cage.  In the dark.  Alone.  For hours.  This could be the most stressful part of the whole thing and I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the last guy up.  Maybe I’ve read too many Steven King books in my day but I would freak the hell out.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would emerge from the ground needing a fresh change of pants.

It’s remarkable to me how these men have kept some sort of routine going while living in the mine.  I know that they pretty much have to have some consistency and structure to their days and nights or they might very well go insane, but it’s impressive they’ve been sticking to it.  They have lighting set up that mimics day and nighttime, so they are roughly 8 hours of work, 8 of rest and 8 of sleep every day.  They also exercise, monitor their vitals and health statistics and the few smokers in the group take extremely long hikes to have a cigarette.  This is a link to a story on that goes through a day in their life and it’s a pretty interesting read.  And if you had any doubt about how small their rescue capsules are going to be, take note of the men who are being forced to lose weight in order to be able to squeeze in before they can come above ground.

This whole thing makes my slightly claustrophobic self’s skin crawl and I’ve been thinking of these guys frequently since I first heard of their plight.  So the next time you’re enjoying sunshine, fresh air or pretty much any type of freedom at all, think of the men in Chile and send them a bit of strength and luck.  Because if they all do Oprah after they get out, they’re going to need it.

Come home soon!

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Out of Sight, Not Out of Mine

September 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

They're still alive!

I’m sure you’ve heard of the group of 33 Chilean miners who have been stuck over 2,000 feet underground since August 5th (and if you haven’t, perhaps you’ve been living underground yourself).  This group of men survived huge odds by rationing 48 hours worth of food and water over the initial 17 days of their entrapment, which is amazing in itself.  They’ve made it a long way but aren’t out of the woods quite yet.  In fact, they will likely be stuck with each other in the mine for another few weeks while rescue crews try to dig their way in without creating further risk.

A video was released Sunday in which the miners are seen giving messages to their loved ones, and though I haven’t watched it, just reading some of the transcript is enough to make me want to cry.  I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to be stuck in the mine, or to be stuck outside waiting for your friend or family member to get out.  The men are now able to receive food, water and messages from their loved ones, which I can only imagine helps to keep them sane.  Speaking of sanity, NASA will be providing advice to the miners on how to not go bonkers while trapped in an enclosed space with other people for such an extended amount of time. That’s especially nice of NASA, considering how the company that owns the mine is not helping with the rescue efforts at all, and will probably not be paying the workers for the time spent buried alive.  You can read more about that lousy business strategy here.

I love the 90's

If I was ever trapped in a mine, here are some of the things I would do to try to maintain the last lingering threads of my sanity:

  • Sing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, starting with 3 billion
  • Try and see how many episodes of Saved by the Bell I could re-run in my head
  • Play leapfrog with anyone and everyone else I was trapped with
  • Request toothpicks; build entire mini-cities
  • Write a play/song/memoir/build-your-own-adventure book about the experience and plan out how to sell it for millions upon release
  • Masturbate (might get tricky with 32 others in such a small space…)
  • Pretend to be stuck in a submarine, spacecraft, ship lost at sea or on another planet, just for something different
  • Tell my entire life story to the others until they give me all their food just to shut me up
  • Try not to think about ghosts, or the fact that an actual ton of dirt is sitting right on top of my head

Oh, who am I kidding?  I would probably go nuts in about two days and try to dig my own way out.  Which I’m sure would totally work.

My thoughts are with those guys – keep on keepin’ on, and good luck down there.  And if you’re trying to keep track of every Saved by the Bell episode ever, don’t forget the lost Ms. Bliss years.

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