For our recent return to Panama City Beach for another Hip Kitty shoot, we decided to get a place at Gulfcrest Condominiums. The room was big, comfortably furnished, and had an awesome view.
However, before I could actually reach that view, I had to unload the truck. The three ladies in my company decided to carry a few incidental bags upstairs, while I grabbed a luggage cart and began loading up the heavy stuff.
Given that the temperature was 100+ degrees in PCB that day, I wasn’t in a spectacular mood. Sweating like a pig, I worked our bags out of the Avalanche’s bed, locked it back up, and began to make my way out of the parking garage.
Now, as anyone who knows me is aware, I don’t see that well. So I’m often disoriented in strange places, particularly when I’m hot and irritable. So I made a bee-line for the nearest elevator, rolled everything inside, and punched the button for the top floor.
Somewhere around this time, it dawned on me that this elevator only served four floors, that our room was in fact on the seventh, and that the condo building as a whole was easily in the twenties. Realizing that I was now simply on my way to the top of the parking garage, I slapped myself in the head, punched “1″, and waited for the car to return to the ground floor.
Only it didn’t. It went to the fourth floor and paused, without the door opening. I figured, “Well, okay, it’s just gonna take me straight back down. How handy.” I was a little curious when it took at least two full minutes for the car to begin moving again, but I was in no particular hurry.
Then we hit the third floor, and stopped again. The door remained closed. All was silent. I stood there for five minutes, and finally accepted that something was awry. Being a typical moron when faced with alarming mechanical events, I punched buttons randomly to see what would happen. Nothing, as it turned out.
“Okay, so you’re now a statistic. You’re stuck in an elevator for the first time. How urban,” I thought. I calmly pressed the alert buzzer a couple times, listening as the call echoed throughout the complex. Much to my increasing displeasure, there was no response. And I began to notice, it was getting really hot in that fucking metal box.
Having allowed ten minutes or so to pass, I muttered something like “Shitgoddamnmotherfucker” under my breath and decided to call for serious help. I punched the emergency services button, and waited patiently as the elevator dialed some unknown number. Being rescued was going to be incredibly embarrassing, but I was really in no mood to cook in my own juices.
“Hello?” came a voice from the speaker.
“Hi. I’m stuck in an elevator at the Gulfcrest,” I responded.
I leaned down, putting my head in the general vicinity of the speaker box. “I’m stuck in an elevator at the Gulfcrest!”
“Is anyone there?”
I resisted the urge to reply, “No, I’m just calling you to liven up my motherfucking afternoon” and once again gave him my location and predicament.
“Well, okay, have a nice day…” Click.
At this point, I began to worry.
I pounded on the door with my fist a few times, but that did little more than leave sweat stains. I returned once again to the buzzer, leaning on it mercilessly. If nothing else, I figured I could save myself by annoying someone enough.
But wait! I suddenly remembered the cellphone in my pocket. Saved! I fished it out, turned it on… and saw that I had one tiny signal bar, and my battery was at the lowest possible level. Sheesh.
Okay, not a complete disaster. Some signal and power is better than none. I decided to call my wife’s phone, and was silently thrilled when it began to ring. And audibly crushed when it went to voicemail.
“Please stop and listen to this entire messsage. I am currently out of the office…” Oh crap. Her outgoing vacation message. All three hours of it!
Squinting at the sliver of pixels left in the Treo’s power meter, I desperately pushed “1″ on the keypad to skip her notoriously detailed instructions. No joy. She just kept on talking until the battery dropped enough to kill the signal. Call disconnected, game over.
By now, I’d been in this makeshift sauna for over thirty minutes, and was rapidly coming to the conclusion that I’d pass out in another thirty or so. I resumed beating on the door with great enthusiasm, to no apparent avail.
Fortunately, I’m not one for panic. I began beating out a Morse code SOS on the buzzer, in the vague hope that someone in such a large building would be able to recognize it. As it turns out, that person was my lovely wife, who had been searching for me with the aid of our friend Danika. She began tracking the sound of the signal, which led her to the garage.
Right around that time, someone else heard my periodic drumming on the elevator door, and sent her husband to find a condo employee. She shouted at me through the door, kinda surprising me a bit.
“You can keep buzzing if you want to, but we hear you and my husband is getting help!”
I slumped against the door in relief and replied, “Thank you! I didn’t know anyone could hear me!”
Within a few minutes, I was released, and reunited with my worried bride and friend. Not that anyone wanted to hug me or anything, because I looked like I had just taken a dip in the pool… it was pretty frickin’ nasty.
So that was my adventure, such as it was. And the moral of this story? Make the chicks carry their own damned bags next time.