Apparently, I’ll be a little healthier in 2020.

I assure you it’s not because it’s my New Year’s resolution.

Let’s jump back to December. I’d just got to work. My hands were full, and I’d just fought my way through the doors.

You know the way you juggle what’s in your right hand while you grab to open the door, then catch it with your foot and eventually get your hips into it to open it up.

So, I headed for the elevator. Even though the Rocket office is on the second floor, I’d already had my morning exercise.

I push the call button. Nothing happens. I repeat this a few times, and I hear over my shoulder: “It’s broken.”

Without any caffeine in my system, this doesn’t register. So, with all the will and determination I could muster, I punch the button again. Nothing.

“Someone is stuck in it.”

This registers, and I reply, “Really.” The person in the hallway confirms, and my first thought has absolutely nothing to do with the poor soul in the elevator. No, my first thought was not the stairs!

I could never confirm if someone was actually stuck in the elevator that day. So, I resumed normal usage once they restored the power to it. Normal usage is to take the stairs going down – because it’s healthier – and the elevator up.

Then fast forward to last week when my boss comes in and says, “Well, we just finished getting (unnamed co-worker) out of the elevator.”

Who it was is not essential. The fact they were stuck in a steel box with no way out for 20-30 minutes is because no matter how rational you are, your brain is going mess with you in that situation.

There’s no actual named phobia associated with being trapped in an elevator. Still, when you’re stuck, it can trigger other conditions like claustrophobia.

After talking to them about it, the closest relatable experience I could come up with was getting crammed into an “open” – there was nothing open about it – MRI machine. I was surprised at how similar the body’s reactions were.

When I got stuffed into the MRI machine, I knew what was going on. I knew I wasn’t trapped, and I knew there was plenty of air, but my brain still triggered a moment of panic.

I had to force myself to think through the situation and tell my brain that it’s OK.

This is the same thing that happened to my co-worker once they realized they were trapped. They spoke about how they had to tell themselves that they had plenty of air, and people were working on getting them out.

Elevators are not airtight, and most of the malfunctions with them are related to the car getting stuck and the doors not opening.

Typically, your chances of getting stuck in an elevator are low. There’s a handful of different statistics, but basically, you’re more likely to get struck by lightning.

Catastrophic failures, like say a car dropping a few stories and crashing to the ground, are even rarer than the more mundane malfunctions.

Nevertheless, machines break. It’s inevitable.

So, until I’ve got time to kill, I guess I’ll be taking the stairs when I need to go somewhere.

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