8 Floors in a glass elevator – a true story.
Do you like heights? I don’t. I’m not scared of them – more apprehensive. You won’t find me hanging from a bungee cord or jumping out of a plane, but I thought I would be Ok in a glass elevator.
Many fellow riders, like me, in the beginning, gravitated toward the doors when in the elevator. They were solid and safe. If pushed to the back when it filled up between floors, Brendan was on the 8th – I felt like I was standing at the edge of nothingness. It would make my blood run cold unless I closed my eyes, which I did, a lot.
It was fascinating to see people shuffle around the elevator, so they didn’t have to look out at the great expanse of air between them and the ground. But what was interesting was the snippets of conversation and the human interaction I was privy to in these small spaces, even if they were sometimes frightening.
There was the tall, well-dressed man. He was distinguished-looking, with thick greying hair. Although I’m not sure, I think he was a doctor. I couldn’t help hearing one side of the conversation he was having with a colleague discussing a patient’s diagnosis and possible outcome. Not something you want to hear as the wife of a cancer patient.
Then there was the young couple; one with a stethoscope around his neck, the other a wedding ring on her finger. They were standing closer to each other than they needed to be. I was the only other person riding with them. Their eyes were locked, his lips almost touching her ear, keeping their conversation private. Although fairly easy-going, even I blushed as she leaned in closer to listen intently to what he was saying. I Work flirts? Risky! Everyone could see them.
A young woman who looked like she was ready to burst into tears as she tried hard not to throw her phone at the glass wall probably needed a hug as much as anyone in the building that day. I wasn’t sure if she would welcome one from me.
“How can you do that to me? What sort of person does that? What sort of person are you?” She screamed, exiting very quickly when the doors opened.
On another occasion, a researcher spoke loudly and matter of factly to the woman next to him about how young patients fare worse than older ones with cancer treatment. Are you shitting me; I obviously don’t look like a doctor or nurse. I’m in a cancer hospital – so I am probably a patient’s family. As the doors opened and the pair got out, still talking, I was left frantic about where my husband sat in that equation, young or old! Young or Old!
And last but not least, there were the four men, with clipboards, discussing a lack of digital emergency call displays. Apparently, it’s a liability. I would have thought it was dangerous. Were they talking about this hospital? Because I only heard 30 seconds of the conversation, and my husband is a patient on level 8!
So after 8 days of riding a glass elevator with strangers, this is what I would like to say to those who rode with me and may continue to ride when I’m gone. I could hear you. An elevator is not a cone of silence. Please know, I was there with you. I was there and heard what you said and saw what you did. Even when I didn’t want to. You were not alone in that elevator we shared, you were in a hospital and I was not invisible. Please be aware of your surroundings as there is every chance your behaviour might be scarier than the glass walls.
When you find yourself the invisible one in a glass elevator – step closer to the edge and press your forehead against the cool, thick glass. Look down; you can do it. At the least, you will have something else to think about as conversations you don’t want to hear – continue around you.
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