Last week, I spent a few days in New York City, watching many months of work come to fruition. As a project manager in the pharmaceutical industry, my colleagues and I had been planning a bioethics-themed symposium for ages. Finally, the event had arrived.
The symposium took place on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. The views were spectacular.
Things were going well on our first day, but I was anxious. There was a “networking lunch” at noon. Trying to pretend I knew anything about
anything compassionate use of medicines for an hour and a half, among some of the country’s foremost ethicists, seemed daunting.
For the first few minutes during lunch, I checked my email in the hallway, doing my best to look busy and important. When I glanced up, I noticed an exit sign.
“I could do a little exploring,” I thought. “Stretch my legs.”
There wasn’t any indication that this was an emergency only exit, so off I scampered into the obviously post-9/11 constructed stairwell. The stairs were wide and well marked with fluorescent tape.
As I descended, I noticed each floor bore signs that read, “Nearest re-entry on floor 36.”
The floors in between had only locked doors, not even a pad to swipe your badge – if you had a badge.
The 36th floor did have a pad, but I decided onward and downward was the way to go. Also I had no badge. No doubt some floor would have public access, and if not, I could piggyback off of one of the people I was bound to see.
And I did see someone. Around floor 20. By then, I was determined to see this thing through. Because surely -surely- I could exit on the ground floor.
The final floors were daunting. There were no doors at all, and large, brightly lit ticker tape signs announcing, “EXIT THIS WAY >>>>>>>>>.”
I finally made it to the ground floor, wobbly-kneed and decidedly damp, only to see this:
Knowing there was a red ‘call if you’re a moron’ phone back on the 11th floor, I turned around and began my long ascent.
When I reached the 4th floor, a tall, brunette man in a fleece jacket appeared.
“Can I help you?” he asked suspiciously.
He looked like Brody from Homeland.
“I’m trapped!” I blurted.
“Yeah. You’re supposed to be on the 40th floor.”
Which is when it hit me. Nicholas Brody had been watching me for forty. Floors.
“Come with me,” he said, leading me to the 5th floor. He looked like he knew 17 ways to kill someone with a rubber band.
When he opened the 5th floor door and I saw it wasn’t an interrogation room, I breathed a sigh of relief.
He found someone to babysit me on the way to the proper elevator bank, and when I eventually made it back to the 40th floor, I ducked into a bathroom stall and desperately swabbed my head with toilet paper.
When I felt fairly certain I’d stopped sweating, I emerged from the stall and washed my hands. I looked up to see my entire forehead covered in toilet paper bits.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a compromising position?
45 thoughts on “I Got Stuck In A Stairwell (And I Liked It)”
No doubt he was building up his nerve to finally approach you over the course of all those floors.
He was probably practicing rubber band kill strike methods 7 through 10.
When I was 15 I got locked inside a port-a-potty at an outdoors Bryan Adams concert in the middle of summer. It was gross. There were a dozen p-o-potties lined up and probably 40 or 50 people in each line. When I was finally freed I got a round of applause.
Now there’s a moment when “Oh sh*t” is really the only thing you can say. That is AWFUL. Amazingly, terrifyingly awful.
I can just see him watching you on the security cameras and wondering what on earth you were doing and where you thought you were going. Good thing they didn’t send you to the basement. That’s where I hear they send the terrorists. That dumb blonde “act” probably saved your life!! 😉
It probably also helped that I wasn’t wearing the ‘stache glasses…
Walking down 40 flights of stairs to avoid the awkwardness of lunch conversation. I could see myself doing that.
I wouldn’t mind some stairwell company next time!
You were probably his entertainment for a while, until he decided he shucks be sure you were only disoriented..:)
Yes – disoriented! That’s what I was! Not just desperately avoiding awkward conversation!
We won’t talk about that..:)
HAHAHAHAHA. love it. I constantly get lost, so I’m there with you:-)
Apparently Brody was there with me, too!!!
I would have done exactly the same! 😉
I knew my bloggy peeps wouldn’t judge my lack of judgment/toilet-paper adorned head.
Hey, you’re still alive! It’s like you were being led around by a service dog that was also a doodle. Completely lost. Lol. Did you fake your way through your thingy okay at least?
Uncle Jesse would have never let me go past the 36th floor! I think Brody is the only person I didn’t manage to fool…
“He looked like he knew 17 ways to kill someone with a rubberband.” LOL
Good thing you’re not claustrophobic. What a crazy adventure.
The stairwell was really quite roomy. I could have set up camp there. With Brody, ideally.
Ha! I’ve been on these little investigatory walks before, you’d be surprised at how often panicky security people pop up asking “how did you even get here?”
This sounds like the beginning of a really great coffee table book. “Places I’ve Been (But Shouldn’t Have Been).” Okay. Maybe I need to work on the title.
This sounds like something I would definitely do. Good thing I wasn’t there with you, I would have starting panicking immediately. The toilet paper on the face thing at the end just about killed me. AHHH!
For the record, sweat-glued toilet paper on your face is DEFINITELY worse than on your shoe.
Hahaha,,,,Oh how I have missed you,,,,and your funny stories. Thank god I found my way out of my stairwell and found the blog world again!
Whew! We should celebrate this reunion by binge watching Homeland.
What is this thing called Homeland? I just finished OITNB and now I’m pretty sure I’m a Lesbian, who is going to intentionally get locked up to be in dyke heaven.
Although that sounded pretty exhausting, it was tooooooo funny. I could totally picture him watching you thinking … what the hell is going on here??? Too funny.
I like to think I helped spice up an otherwise really humdrum Hump Day for the World Trade Center security force.
I’m no go with stairs, owchy knees and hips! So, when my office had a fire drill where we all had to exit through the stairwell, I tried to let everyone ahead of me, but they wouldn’t let me. I spent 20 minutes, that should have taken 5, hanging on the railing and blocking everyone. 😦
Aw man. Where was Brody when we really needed him?!
Me? Compromising position? Ummmm
The ‘stache glasses can only hide so much, my friend.
Only if you count going into the men’s restroom by mistake… 😉
Heh. I wish I had known Brody was on the way. I could have thought of a better pick up line than, “I’m trapped!”
The good news is you also got your work out in for the day, right? Right?
That is precisely what I told myself over desserts.
Haha! That’s the first post of yours I have read. And I do look forward to reading more! (:
Why thank you, Lakshmi! It’s so nice to see you here! (I don’t still have toilet paper stuck to my head, do I?)
We were going to a college ballet at a different campus. I jumped a fence because we saw the ballet truck down the way. A campus guard caught me. In my own campus then it was fine to jump a fence. Here, it was not. Had it not been for 10 people waiting for me and saying “did you find the ballet” I am not certain what would have happened…
Did you study/perform ballet in college? I do believe this is the first time you’ve mentioned it!
No, I just enjoyed watching. We were simply going to view one. Thanks for that vote, though. It would have been wonderful to be that graceful.
So, before you got saved, were you planning to trek up 11 floors and use the phone? Were you going to beat on one of the doors asking someone on the other side to let you in? That’s funny. It should allow you to exit for fire purposes, right? Don’t they have practice drills? then again, the alarms go off on practice too…soooo…
That’s EXACTLY what I planned (Project Management Professional here!). But that wouldn’t have made a good blog post, so despite my calves being sore for 4 days, I’d call this whole experience a win.