Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Minor Emergencies, Hot Chocolate, and Elevators

Oh, what a morning!

Today began auspiciously when I managed to burn both my hands.

I accomplished this while attempting to buy hot chocolate at the cafeteria. Having purposefully placed my cup under the correct divider, I pushed the button that allowed hot chocolate to flow forth. This having been accomplished, I proceeded to push said button several times until my cup overflowed. At this point, I realized that I had neglected to put the nifty little cardboard ring around the cup, so that there was no way to remove it from its elevated position underneath the hot chocolate spigot. I gingerly approached it with my hands, shaking the cup slightly so that liquid slopped over the side, but, being impatient, grabbed two cardboard rings, placed them around my fingers and reached for the cup.

Only to have burning liquid spill over my hands. I, having set down the cup, jump backwards, an abrogated expletive on my lips. I then began to wave my hands about, but realizing that I had spilled hot chocolate on the counter, dutifully went off to look for some napkins to clean up the mess. This while neglecting my now-burnt hands.

A member of the cafeteria personnel informs me that I needn't clean it up, for which I thank him, at which point I run like a demon for the sink and place my hands under cold water, admire the bright pink color they have become and grit my teeth at the pain.

Once this is accomplished, I set out to actually eat my breakfast. My hands feel as though they are on fire, but I ignore this pain as I set upon my strawberries. Every few moments, however, I am compelled to place them under cold water once again. Then I have the brilliant idea of filling one of the cafeteria's happy 'I LOVE NY' bags with ice, knotting it, and creating my own self-conceived ice pack. This I did, and so wander off to English class, where I manage book, notebook, tissues and pen while keeping my contrived ice-pack upon my left hand.

Later on in the day, I make my exciting discovery regarding the ape-monkey story, and happily typed that up.

Then I went off to my excellent Chumash class, where I inform my teacher I am reading Legends of the Jews and we get into an interesting discussion/ digression, since she does not approve of children reading The Little Midrash Says and the like. Usually I dismiss people who say these things to me, but because this is my brilliant Chumash teacher and quite possibly my favorite teacher, I listen to her. And lo and behold, she has a logical reason for not liking children to have read The Little Midrash Says. She asks a very good question- how is a teacher to capture the child's interest in class and in opening a Chumash and reading a pasuk inside if the child already knows all the information, having read the elaborately detailed midrash? What incentive does the child have to look to the Chumash, the Hebrew, the source itself, if she can find it in the English and be instantly gratified? Well, that is a good point, but my counterpoint is that the Midrash is necessary to counter all the fairytales I'd read. Well, at this point my teacher explains that she didn't allow her children to read fairytales because she didn't like to fill their heads with such ideas. "But I love fairytales!" I answer in dismay. Then I ask about toys. But the only toy she allows her children is a set of blocks...I personally understand this one, as I think one can be quite creative with a set of blocks. The imagination is the key to everything, and I recall playing with Tinker-Toys for the longest time- just tinkertoys, and out of tinkertoys I could make a house, a castle, a cake- indeed, out of the meanest things, like cardboard boxes, I created entire worlds!

Anyway, having had this discussion with my brilliant Chumash teacher (and she really is brilliant, she has a very literary approach to Chumash, is extremely well-read, incredibly well-spoken, studied one on one with Nachama Leibowitz and so on), my classmate Adina and I walked off to the elevator. I asked Adina whether she planned to eat dinner, having been answered favorably we entered the elevator and pressed "B" for Basement, which is where the Cafeteria is.

But the elevator didn't move.

We were on the sixth floor, inside of an elevator, and it was stuck.

And it remained stuck for thirty-five minutes.

Now, elevators get stuck in movies. Then all kinds of interesting personal conversations happen, in which one of the stuck people informs the other that s/he hates/ loves her, and it all becomes very sappy and dramatic. But this is my life, so of course I managed to get stuck in one of the Stern elevators, the middle one to be specific, for thirty-five minutes.

We were stuck for about five minutes when Adina pushed the "Call" button. A gentleman who seemed entirely too happy about our situation claimed he was sending someone right up. Of course, nothing happened. I was rather giddy with excitement and was explaining all about how we were going to be stuck forever and use up all our air and then die within the elevator shaft. And then I sank down onto the floor happily and remained there.

After waiting another ten minutes, I pushed the "Call" button and proceeded to sweetly explain that the two of us were stuck in the elevator and would appreciate some assistance, especially because at some point this evening I had to write a paper, and poor Adina had to make it to her FIT class.

We waited some more. I pulled out my cell phone and lent it to Adina, who called someone. I called my father. There was an amusing conversation.

Chana: Hi, I'm calling to tell you that I've been stuck in the elevator for the past thirty minutes.

Daddy: I saw you called during lunch to tell me something. Now it appears that you have time to tell me!

Chana: Did you not hear what I said? Your daughter has been stuck in the elevator for thirty minutes! Do you not find this slightly frightening?

Daddy: Well, I'll stay on the line till you get out.

Chana: Right. So Adina and I came out of Chumash class and we got in the elevator and then it decided to freeze and die so we're here and wait-

Disembodied Voices: Anyone in there?

Chana and Adina: (chiming in unison) Yes, yes, we're here!

Disembodied Voices: You all right in there?

Chana and Adina: Yes, yes, we're all right.

Chana: We're having a party.

Disembodied Voices: Two minutes, all right?

Chana and Adina: Two minutes, yes, okay.

Chana: (back to phone) Okay, so they said they're going to get us out of here in two minutes...yeah, right, I don't believe them but yeah, that's what they said...right, so isn't this exciting? This only happens to me.

Daddy: Are you by yourself?

Chana: No, no, I'm with Adina; want to talk to her? (gives phone to Adina. Adina speaks, then gives phone to me)

Chana: Oh, wait, they want us to pull open the doors. I have to hang up on you!

Tossing the phone on top of my coat, Adina and I, aligning ourselves on opposite sides of the elevator, then proceed to pull open the inner doors. A man thrusts his hand between the doors and completes our rescue. A whole security team is assembled outside; they take our names and we walk down the six flights of stairs.

Oh, I neglected to mention the part where I told Adina that it would be quite fun to imagine a man with an axe chopping us out of the elevator, or wondering dreamily aloud what would happen if I had epilepsy or a seizure and went into one while in the elevator while being stuck; would that make help come faster? Adina herself thought we shouldn't have answered that we were okay, but pretended that someone was crying miserably or in great straits.

So I proceeded to hold court at my dinner table (quite a few people stopped by to say hello, and everyone was duly informed of my burnt hands and elevator experience) and make introductions all around. All was lovely and wonderful and that, thus far, has been my day.


Rare Find said...

"I was rather giddy with excitement and was explaining all about how we were going to be stuck forever and use up all our air and then die within the elevator shaft. And then I sank down onto the floor happily and remained there."

You are INSANE. In a good way.

purple shadows said...

That's a little creepy that you were stuck for 35 minutes....
refua shilama for your hands!

Halfnutcase said...

I stand with rare find. You are crazy, but very amusing.

SJ said...

You know what's great about Chana? She talks the same way that she writes. And vise versa. And she is quite amusing, in both formats. I wish I had been stuck in the evelator (yes, that was on purpose) with you--we would have really had a party! We could have practiced enacting dire situations! We could have pretended to have one of those dramatic movie conversations! Or, you could have questioned me aggressively about why I don't believe that I'm the Messiah! Oh, wait..

Ezzie said...

You know what's great about Chana? She talks the same way that she writes. And vise versa. And she is quite amusing, in both formats.

Seriously. I think that was the oddest and most interesting thing I noticed when I met her! Hilarious. :)

d. chedwick bryant said...

Reading this post I am glad I grew up without censorship as to what I was reading--I read everything and anything. ( I loved fairy tales) I never did enjoy blocks, but played with artsy toys , kits, arts and crafts, fingerpaints, and so forth. messy things. Of course teachers did confiscate books I had-- they didn't approve of some authors. (Dorothy Parker, Salinger, Potok, to name a few) hope you get to really enjoy some not so scalding hot cocoa next time.

Harry said...

Most amusing - and exciting.

Shira Salamone said...

That was one of those "no news is good news" days--better you should have no news than news like this! Still, it was a good read, so I guess "no news" isn't necessarily always good news for a writer. :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hmmm...the scene from "Speed" came to mind.