Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Elevator - Scarier than WMDs?

Lately, I've noticed a change in how I step...into an elevator.

OK, bare with me here, this is going to range further than Viggo Mortenson's Strider the Ranger character in LOTR. But we'll come back to this in the end.

You know what scares me more than WMDs? Weapons of Mass Destruction are indeed scary, but I may never be in the vicinity of one. Right? Actually if you look at the odds, and consider that I worked near, around, under and on nuclear weapons all through the last half of the 70s, odds are I should never run into them again. Hey, these are MY odds, so...shut up! Anyway, if I ever am around them again, I'm sure they won't be so benign and be handled by such law abiding citizens and it may not matter. I mean, I may never know it.

Boom! Story over.

I have an "office" (artistic license) on the 12th floor of a sixteen story building in Seattle. Lately, just as I step into the elevator, even without thinking about it, my foot hesitates as I lower it to the rug in the VMB (Vertically Moving Box; if it also went other than vertical, then it would be a Wonkavator, but sadly, or happily, it doesn't, or isn't, whatever....). I have also noticed, that depending upon whether or not it is going down or up, my hesitation is imbued with either a greater or lesser sense of trepidation. There's a weight, to its weight.

What is that?

You know, years ago there was a Dutch horror film called, "The Lift". Its tag line was: "Take the stairs, take the stairs. For God's sake, take the Stairs!!!" When it came out I thought, how stupid. I haven't seen a movie idea I thought was that stupid until I recently heard about, "The Human Centipede - First Sequence" (No really, check YouTube for it). But The Lift was actually pretty good, pretty scary. Too scary. I haven't thought about it for years now. Maybe I'll watch it this weekend.

Before I get started, allow me to say here, I'm not the scary type. Not really. I spent the first part of my life, proving myself to myself, facing my fears, "abandoning hope all ye who entered there", and went forward anyway.

I fell out of airplanes, I dangled off of cliffs, learned mountain search and rescue where they would drop you and say, "OK, see you, uh, if you get back to base camp, if not, we'll come look for you" (they never had to), I frequently went SCUBA diving alone (even after being Treasurer of our High School SCUBA club and hey, Mike Nelson when diving alone all the time!), I backpacked alone in the Cascades and with friends in the Olympics, I've supplied personal (armed) protection for pay (and for free) over the years, I walked down the streets and alleys of a city once with $20 bills literally hanging from my pockets trying to get mugged (that was Bill Cosby's idea). Testing, testing, testing, learning my limits.

On the other hand, I'm still afraid of my parent's quarter basement in the house I grew up in. I snuck in there just last weekend, and really, no kidding, it does still scare me. And they don't even live there anymore. Not for decades.

On the other hand, maybe because of all that, I don't have any problem dealing with fear, should I ever have any. You just deal with it and move on. Fear is good, it means you're smart. Unless you fear something that you shouldn't, like your front door at home, or your toothpaste, then you do have a problem. Or other people do.

On the other hand, if you are too scared of your front door to leave and too afraid to use your toothpaste, then maybe no one really has anything to worry about.

But back to the elevator? I don't know. I just don't know.

Look, I've tried hard to Be, to Become, "Enlightened".

Is that it? I'm Enlightened? If so, then I'm seeing, feeling, that there is a chasm below, twelve floors of chasmness, of vacuous emptiness; I'm visualizing it, without even visualizing it; I'm sensing it, experiencing it. And its making part of me, nervous. But what part?

True Enlightenment would allow me to see also that this SVMB (Scarily Vertically Moving Box) is regularly checked, inspected and examined closely by certified individuals they call technicians, who are experts at making sure this is a SVMB (Safe Vertically Moving Box).

So perhaps I'm not so Enlightened.

On the other hand, I can also see that these individuals are Human. Sometimes I'm sure, they have a bad day. Or their certifications don't cover today's cold; or their wife having kept them up all night about something important (or otherwise), so that their examination that day isn't quite as thorough as it should be.

And so, the box could be defective. Then when I step into it, it could, suddenly drop away, plummeting into the depths of darkness. Perhaps, if I place my foot on its floor, gingerly, it will be just the right amount of pressure to release its defective controls to allow it to drop, and so I will have enough time to pull my foot back (or lose my foot), but not to fall to my death.

Then take another elevator down to the Paramedics.

The trouble is, this feeling seems to be in my foot. So, losing the foot, well, isn't really an option. I notice my hand doesn't seem to be affected by this. Leading with my hand tells me nothing, but still, its not scared.

What if its not my foot at ALL? What if, its the concrete far below that's having an attitude and my foot is picking up on it? But that's stupid. What if its the air in the shaft and its really sick to death of being beat up, with this box all day long going up and down and up and down and....

But perhaps I'm just being foolish and this is some irrational fear and I'm really not Enlightened, after all. Or maybe its a fear of losing something before I can correct all that needs to be corrected in my Life.

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" the Shadow used to ask (its dark in that shaft, all shadows and hidden parts). Could it just be my foot? Could it be the Air (note the capitalization, I'm trying to treat it with respect here, man. No, really, think about it, if the Air suddenly left that shaft, wouldn't the elevator weigh a lot more or at least descend a lot faster? 14.7lbs/sq ft at sea level, remove that and....whoosh)?

So, is it Fear of Karma.
Or, Fear of the Elevator God(s).
Or, Fear of not being Fearful.

I'm afraid I really don't know.
But still I'm thinking, maybe I'll just work from home.

Tomorrow's Blog: Big Government/Appropriate Government

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