The Hellhole

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friday was not my Best Day Ever.  I was really looking forward to the weekend, for more than the standard reasons, and then came Friday.

On Thursday the 19th, I started Tai Chi lessons here.  I'd been wanting to take Tai Chi for some time;  Alan takes lessons there too, and has been encouraging me to join him.  No novice to the discipline, Alan has been taking lessons there for a bit more than a year, but took Tai Chi some years ago as well.  My only problem was that novice lessons were held at 9:00 AM on Saturdays, at a location that might be half an hour from my house, but depending on Atlanta traffic fuckwittage - which you can depend on - might also be forty-five minutes to an hour.  Adding to that, I'm naturally fairly nocturnal; left to my own devices, I'd read until three or four AM, then sleep until after noon, so the idea of getting up so preternaturally early, on a Saturday no less, seemed unthinkable.

This session, however, our instructor decided to add a Thursday class that meets from 6:00PM to 7:15PM.  "That?"  I said to Alan.  "That, I can do."  Best of all, Alan decided that he could use a refresher to reinforce his training so he's taking the class with me.  It's wonderful.  I am taking Yang style 24-form at the moment.  Alan has already completed 24- and 108-form but thinks he is benefitting from the reinforcement.  BTW "Yang" is the family name of the people who developed the style, not 'yang' as in 'yin and yang'.  I enjoyed it so much!  I was going to practice all weekend!

Yeah, well, not so much. This was during a bitter, bitter cold snap in Atlanta and Friday morning with wind chill it felt like 6 degrees.  There was also a biting wind blowing.  First thing when I arrive at my office, I go down to the level of the parking deck where the mailboxes for the building complex are located, collect the mail and go upstairs to deal with it.  That morning I took the elevator even though it was only one floor down.

I believe I've remarked on this before but my building complex is rather labyrinthine.  There are multiple ways to get from point A to point B, but that early in the morning, I often find that I get 90% of the way to where I want to be only to discover a grate pulled down, a door locked, the 24-hour badge-only pad not working for whatever reason - any number of things that can cause me to have to backtrack and try a different way.  I was in no mood to risk this because it was so cold and I didn't want to spend half an hour roaming around outside, so I took the lazy/easy way out with the elevator.  Those who know me know where this is going, right?

The elevator descended with no issues, I collected the mail and returned to ascend. The elevator went up to entrance level, but there operation ceased.  The doors wouldn't open, the car would not respond to any buttons pressed, whether open doors or for other floors.  I started to panic.  Elevators don't bother me, particularly, not even the glass ones inside the building, but a malfunction sends me into extreme panic.  I started whacking all the buttons indiscriminately.  Nothing.

Longtime readers may be wondering, "Is this the same elevator you got stuck in before?"  Why yes.  Yes it is.  But that was 2007!  I thought I'd be safe after eight years!

Next I pressed the emergency call button but it either was not working or was not staffed that early in the morning (which would rather defeat the purpose) but there was no help there either.  I started to call 911 but felt rather ridiculous so I renewed my campaign of banging on all the elevator buttons.  Finally the doors opened.  All told, I was trapped about 8 minutes but it felt like 8 hours.

It seemed that the doors wouldn't open because the elevator car had not risen all the way to the level of the pavement.  Not that I noticed this, in my panic and haste to get the hell off the elevator, so as I stepped out, I caught the toe of my boot on the ledge of pavement and came crashing down on my left knee.  Of course, it had to be my left knee, the one I've busted open three times before.  My jeans were ripped, my knee was skinned and already swelling and bruising, and to add insult to injury my backpack had flown off my shoulder to the concrete, bursting the two clementines I had in there for snacks and rendering my backpack and everything in it wet and sticky.  Yay.

So it seemed that I wasn't going to practice Tai Chi all weekend as I'd been hoping.  I've done some anyway, but not nearly as much as I'd wanted to and it did cause some pain.  It's hard to be graceful and flowing when your grapefruit of a knee is throbbing.  But I'm not giving up!


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