Last week I got stuck in an elevator with five other people. Luckily, one of them happened to be a pizza delivery guy and, you guessed it, he still had his pizza that he was supposed to be delivering after he got off the elevator. I immediately told the group that this pizza represented our only chance at survival if this elevator remained trapped for an extended period of time. The pizza delivery guy tried to brush me off, “Let’s just hold on for a second,” while somebody else tried pressing some of those emergency buttons on the wall.
The buttons didn’t do anything. I’ve always had the suspicion that most elevators just have a bunch of fake buttons to keep people from freaking out. It’s the same thing with those rounded mirrors in the top corners. You think there are any cameras behind there? There aren’t. The only reasonable explanation for those mirrors is so you can check everyone else riding in the elevator at the same time as you. And for real, that’s not a serious explanation. It’s just a trick, just like the fake buttons.
One of the buttons worked, the one that rang that alarm bell. But it was a real bell, and it was definitely attached to the elevator that we were stuck in, so I told the guy to stop pressing it, because it was super annoying. He protested, arguing that somebody outside would hear the ringing and call for help.
“Call who? Who are they going to call?” I was getting impatient. “You’re just like one of those idiots who starts blaring their horn in bumper to bumper traffic. There’s absolutely nothing to be done about the situation except annoy everyone else with a really loud noise. Sounds like a great plan. Now can we please get back to this pizza while it’s still hot?”
I saw the pizza guy pull in his box a little tighter. What kind of a pizza place sends out its pies without one of those thermal bags? It must be that place right down the corner. Which led me to another question. Who the hell would order delivery from one block away? That’s just really lazy. Come on, take a five minute break, stretch your legs. You’ll save money on the tip. No, whoever took the time to make an actual phone call to a pizza place right downstairs, asking them if they’d send up an employee to deliver their pizza, they probably wouldn’t be worrying about a tip anyway.
But that was beside the point. It’s actually a good thing that someone was lazy enough to call, because otherwise I wouldn’t be in here with this pizza. But then again, if that person had just gone downstairs, maybe I’d have had to wait for an additional elevator, because I’m a gentleman and I always insist on holding the doors open for everyone else, and then I wouldn’t be stuck, someone else would. I’d be stuck upstairs for a few minutes, waiting for an elevator that wouldn’t be coming, but I wouldn’t be literally trapped, like I was right then, I would have given up eventually and taken the stairs.
But no thermal bag? That’s a shame. We could have all waited half an hour, forty five minutes, tops, before we had to address the food situation. “Just back off, all right buddy?” the pizza guy warned me. Please, don’t warn me. What’s a warning going to do in a situation with six people stuck in a tiny elevator?
“Here’s how it’s going to go,” I announced. “We each get one slice, while it’s hot. It’s the only fair way.”
Because who likes to eat cold pizza? I do. I actually like cold pizza. I don’t prefer it over hot pizza, but it’s still good. I don’t like my pizza to be piping hot, but just you know, five, five to seven minutes out of the oven. But room temperature pizza is great too. I’ll even eat it cold out of the fridge. I’ll even eat a frozen pizza out of the freezer. I’ve never done it, but I could. I could just let it thaw until it was room temperature. Or I could just chomp on it still frozen, just biting and swallowing.
That wouldn’t be ideal, but I could make it happen in an emergency. And that’s what this was, an emergency. I was pressing the pizza issue under the guise of its temperature, but I was really just trying to force everyone’s hand, make a move, right now, for the first round of pizza. I’d make it out to be like we’d divide it, evenly, and that everybody would get to either eat their slice right away, or save it for later. I was counting on the fact that most people weren’t currently dying for a slice of pizza. Hell, I wasn’t even that hungry. I just ate like five tacos.
But I’d eat my slice right away, thereby starting at an advantage of an even fuller stomach than everyone else. If we were really stuck in there for a while, everyone else would probably wisely save their slice for when they got really hungry. And in that situation, I’d think about the two extra slices in that box. Because there are only six of us, but eight slices of pizza, seven if you discount the slice that I was planning on having eaten immediately.
Then when everybody else finally broke down and went for their rations, I’d protest, “Come on! There are two perfectly good slices right there. I deserve one. I finished my slice yesterday. I didn’t think we’d be in here this long. You can’t all just eat pizza while I’m starving. I’ll go crazy. I won’t allow it!”
And people would tell me stuff like, “Well, you shouldn’t have eaten your slice right away. In fact, you were the one who told us we should eat our slices when we wanted to.” And that would just drive me into a rage. I’d start the craziest confined quarter temper tantrum until somebody said something like, “Fine, just give it to him. Jesus.” And that way I’d get two slices.
But eventually there’d be the issue of that last slice of pizza. I thought, I’ll probably have to wait to make a move, but I could press it a little faster if I could insist that we didn’t have too much time before it spoiled. In which case I’d insist on a lottery for the last slice. It would be silly to try and divide the last piece. First of all, nobody had a knife. It would be a mess. Secondly, there’s no way one sixth of a slice of pizza is going to satisfy anybody’s hunger. Better to give it away to one person.
Of course I’d rig the results. But everyone would be so famished, delusional with hunger, that they wouldn’t be paying attention to me fixing the contest. Only I would have my wits about me, because I’d have two slices of pizza digesting in my stomach, buying me just enough time to outwit everyone else. I’d win, I’d grab the slice, and then I’d have eaten three slices. That’s how you do it. That’s called making the best of a bad situation.
But actually, that plan wasn’t really the best. There was a whole pie there that I could have had all to myself. I immediately shifted my plan, which was tough, because I had already made such a big deal about us being stuck in there for potentially forever. But now I was all like, “You know what? I’m actually pretty sure I hear people working on the elevator. We should be out of here in twenty minutes, tops.” It only takes me twenty minutes to eat a whole pizza. Ask anybody. “So, wait a second,” I continued, “I actually ordered a pizza. I think that’s for me. Going up, right? Yeah, totally my pizza. So why don’t we just settle up right now, if you don’t mind, this is my lunch break, and I’m afraid my bosses won’t let me take an extra lunch break, because I always pull the broken elevator routine and, well, you guys know how it is, right? Here you go.”
The guy protested, but I was way more aggressive. I shoved a twenty in his face and grabbed the box. As I got into my third slice, I thought, this is awesome. I’m like a king here. I’ll out-survive everybody else in this elevator. But then the doors cracked open. It was two guys with some crowbars.
“Jesus!” the one guy said, “Why didn’t anybody press the alarm button? You know that’s the only way people know to call for a crew, right?”
And everybody filed out and I was stuck with a totally not so hot pizza that I paid for. My next trick was going to be getting my twenty bucks back after I had eaten the pizza, but I guess that wasn’t going to happen. And then I went up to work, I felt so sick from eating the whole pie, and my boss was like, “Rob! What the hell? You can’t just disappear for half an hour at a time! And to think I ordered you a pizza for doing such a great job. Good thing that idiot delivery boy didn’t even show up. I called up the pizza shop and apparently nobody in your generation knows how to work, because he took the day off also. I hope they fired that good for nothing piece of …”
And I just had to sit there and take it, because I had already pulled the stuck in the elevator excuse last week. That’s an excuse you can’t roll out too frequently, because the first time, the boss just thinks, that sucks, but the second time, in a week, he starts complaining to the super, “What’s with the elevator breaking down twice this week?” and the super looks at him and goes, “Twice?”