Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trapped in an Elevator at Age Four


1994 was an eventful year. The Commonwealth games were on, black holes were proved to exist, Richard Nixon kicked the bucket, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. premiered, Kurt Cobain decided to shoot himself in the face, however none of these events meant anything to me because I was only four years old.

When I was four years old my parents were separated, so I only got to see my Dad every second weekend. He lived in the city, so on weekends we usually went into town to shop or go to the zoo or something.  In the center of town there is an enormous Target; which is basically a cheapo department store. One particular Saturday after shopping with my Dad we were heading back towards the Target car park. We reached the elevators, where Dad let me press the ‘up’ button; I LOVED buttons when I was young, the lights, the bings and dings. It was a riveting experience. I stood up on my toes to boost myself and still my stretched out fingers could only just press the button.

Ding!

The elevator opened. I was generally a well-behaved (read ‘trained’) child; I had learnt not to enter an elevator until the current occupants had left. However this time it was empty, so I eagerly ran inside.

Now remember that, one, I was four years old when this happened, so my memory of the event is fairly broken and staggered, and two, this was the mid 90’s, so my Dad would definitely NOT have had a mobile phone or other piece of handheld technology, so what he was doing to be so distracted is lost in my memory banks, but regardless the elevator doors closed with me inside and my Dad outside.

Sheer fucking panic ensued.

I was trapped in a cold metal world that was completely alien to me. Dozens of buttons covered the walls but I did not understand the symbols or their purpose. I may as well have been inside the TARDIS for all the good it did me. I couldn’t reach any of the buttons, they weren’t meant for my tiny four-year-old frame. My heart rate shot through the roof. I knew without a shred of doubt that I was going to die in that elevator, I would have to eat my own arms off to survive. I would perish but my legend would live on, they would write movies and countless books of my heroism in the face of adversity.

Meanwhile my Dad, still standing outside of the elevator had stopped being distracted and realised that his only child was no longer present. Luckily my dad was a calm and collected man, put two and two together and had pressed the ‘up elevator’ button for a second time, the doors had opened. There I was, wide-eyed and totally scared shitless. My dad didn’t understand why I looked so terrified, or why I was so thrilled to see him.

Literally around 12 seconds had passed. He had barely noticed I was gone, but for me it was a long and horrific nightmare.

- Tom

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