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An astonishing week

It’s been what you might call an unusual week for me. Please allow me to tell you all about it.


I really thought it would never happen. I thought it was the kind of thing that only happened on TV shows where the main character was 35 weeks pregnant. But it really happened to me. Last Wednesday, I was trapped in an elevator for a whole half-hour.

Someone once said that hell was being locked in a room with your friends. Well, that’s not quite right… actually hell is being trapped with your friends in a lift-sized area, when you don’t have any heavy weaponry to ensure that they don’t shut up.

It all began like any other lift journey… you press the button, wait for the lift to arrive, then everybody piles in, holding the doors open for the last person to arrive. If you time it right, you can catch the tail of their jacket in the door as it closes.

You press the button for the floor you want, and presto, you’re on your way. But this time, we weren’t on our way. Because this time, we had entered *THE DEMON LIFT FROM HELL*!!

We should have known. We should have been wary. For years now the lifts in that building have had reputations. Reputations of treating their passengers like bits of meat chopped up then thrown out because of mould. One lift was known to stop between floors… another had, it was rumoured, shot six floors straight down a la gravity… and the third seemed okay, but occasionally decided to stop on, say, level 5, and refuse to go any further down. But we climbed in anyway. Happy to be at the end of the working day.

We knew things were bad when it went in the wrong direction. We wanted Ground, and said so. But the lift mechanism had obviously failed, because it spontaneously decided that to get to the Ground from the ninth floor, it should go up.

And so it lurched into action, catching us all by surprise. It surprised us almost as much when 2.7 seconds later, it stopped again, displaying “10”, the top of the building in question. Perhaps the lift was trying to escape? Perhaps it was preparing for a very fast descent. But no, it stood still. We paused. We pressed buttons. Every button. Every single button. Twice. Well, we’d modified our elevator itinerary to visit every floor, but we hadn’t actually made any progress towards going anywhere.

We discussed the options. There seemed to be five possible ones.

  • Press every button again to see what happened (which we had already)
  • Panic, scream, tear at the walls and doors to escape (which although it would have relieved the tension, probably would have got us nowhere)
  • Just sit there and wait. Which was not an option really, when you consider it. We all would have missed our trains, for a start. (We ended up missing about 3 trains each, actually, but oh well)
  • Do like they do on spy movies, and open the trap door on the top of the lift, climb out and go up the shaft on the rickety ladder to safety. With the risk, of course, that the lift would start working again while on the ladder, and squash us. Fat chance.
  • Pick up the very handily placed emergency phone and ring the lift maintenance people (Which we eventually concluded was the most sensible solution)

So, we rang. And we waited. And while we waited, we used our mobile phones to call relatives (I’d rather use the word “relatives” than “next of kin”). We also called our colleagues, who were still in the building, and who were able to have an enormous laugh at our expense. “You’re not going to believe this… but we’re stuck in the lift. STOP LAUGHING YOU BASTARDS!!!”

Eventually the maintenance people came, and let us out. No-one had got pregnant. Nobody had to be eaten to help the others survive. We were let out by the heroic lift maintenance guy. Strange thing is, we heard him calling, but when the doors finally opened, we couldn’t actually find him. Did he selflessly plummet down the shaft to gain our freedom? Perhaps we’ll never know.


I found out last Friday that I’m gonna be a dad. My wife is pregnant.

Okay, so it wasn’t totally unplanned, but it was still a surprise. “What, you mean all that machinery actually works?!” Yep, now I can strut around the streets with a deep and steady voice proclaiming "I am virile! Stand aside citizens, for VirileMan is here! Behold my working machinery! Behold my SuperSperm(tm)!"

Of course, the immediate reaction was very less macho and testosterony. The way the news was relayed around the place basically goes a little like this.

DOCTOR: “Congratulations” —> EARS —> BRAIN —> JAW (which drops)

So, prepare for pregnancy jokes a-plenty. The first of which begins here. The hippies say it’s good to speak to the growing foetus. So we’ve decided to prepare the kid for life with its parents. We’ve been telling it to “Keep your womb clean.”

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.