Abstinence From Bananas

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Stuck inside an elevator.

Age Rating:

I’m sorry. But Neilson is currently out of reach. We can take a message for you, but we can’t be too sure when it will reach him. You see, this doesn’t happen too often here at our Building so we can’t really make an educated guess on how long it’s going to take them before they get him out of the elevator. Is he fine? I’m pretty sure he is. Well, there’s no way I can be certain that he is, I’m not in there with him right now, am I? Oh but our elevators aren’t equipped with intercoms, nor the emergency button as a matter of fact. Why not? Listen, this might sound a little ridiculous but we haven’t had people die as a result of being stuck inside before and I do strongly believe it’s linked to the fact that we don’t have these so-called contingency plans which we deem as being somewhat akin to mediocre - in terms of the quality of work, to have a button that will fit well in a situation Neilson is in at the moment, instead of being completely intolerant to these types of situations such that you’re always on your toes making sure you’ve got every bit of your responsibilities’ end right. Yea...yes, this has happened and we hate every bit of it but we’re not immune to exceptions. It isn’t like we’re not prepared for this, yes we are. I’m sure you’re upset that Neilson is in there with no line of communication to us here on the outside but he’s only been in there for ten minutes. He’s going to come out of there, which those other buildings - believe me - will not be able to promise because of their buttons and microphones that the folks inside can speak into, which didn’t stop them from dying anyway, those people. Take this from me, every button you add to your damn box is an excuse for you to not take care of your primary responsibility and that is to ensure that those boxes function the way they’re intended to.

I’m sorry but we don’t know what people do while they’re inside. This hasn’t happened before, as I’ve previously mentioned, so we don’t really have a record of people’s experiences inside our elevators under these (unfortunate) circumstances. I can tell from experience, however, that Neilson’s probably extremely bored. The walls begin to look pale immediately after that initial wave of anxiety subdues, and the lights which once shone like they didn’t want to become all-the-sudden the only things that indicate any sort of absence of silence so to speak. Oh yes indeed, I was once stuck inside as well with a ma...- yes of course I came out of that fine. No, I was not dehydrated albeit it did take them an awful lot of time to get me out. I was only five back when this happened so it was way beyond my vocabulary of imagination that this was even a possibility - which made it all the more terrifying. What do I mean? Oh no, I do not mean that Neilson is in any kind of trouble, but it is paralyzing to see something happen which you didn’t even begin to think of as a possibility. I’m talking seeing a new type of color, or a different type of noise. Not a different, more exotic shade of a color you’ve already seen before, but something with complete novelty. Or any color for a blind man, really, who didn’t think sight was a thing. I was inside with another man, however, who I remember nothing about. It really doesn’t matter if you’re in the box alone or not because there’s a way of blocking everything else out which at least I was introduced to, rendering anything that isn’t going to aid you in getting out as unimportant. Neilson’s probably doing just fine in there if he’s gotten past the infatuation with pressing buttons, which really is an infatuation, you should know. But it’s very intense to the point where you can’t let it pass without - metaphorically speaking - convulsing a little but violently, if you don’t press the button that is. The one thing I do remember about the person I was with - beside his voice and odour - was his compulsive and obsessive pressing of the button. Every time he pressed the Yellow Button, he got a little less patient which really is the fallacy in any kind of comfort that damn button can bring you. As you can see, the decision to go with no button or microphone can be summed in a kind of covalent nutshell: (a) It makes it a lot harder for the folks inside to accept that they are inside in fact indefinitely, and (b) the button says a lot about the ones who install them, those with the tendency to do just the bare minimum to be able to tuck themselves warm into this limbo-state of willful ignorance. I’ve seen those idiots, who install buttons and let boxes fail mid-way; suspended inside a dark column inside a maze of a building which they don’t have to worry about since they’re not the ones being troubled by their absolute incompetence because all they have to do is come back the next morning and do the exact same thing where they duct-tape it up and then but the one thing they do so damn sincerely - and they do it quick - is they turn around. They make sure they turn around quick enough to not see the thing fall apart again - which it inevitably will - because if they do happen to see it fall apart, they have two ways of dealing with it and that is to (a) actually duct-tape it up once again or (b) go back home with the knowledge weighing down on their shoulders that they had let it be. You see, these idiots aren’t immune to guilt which is why they’re such huge proponents of a guilt-free day-in and day-out.

It’s terrifyingly quiet in there, the elevator shaft, our workers say. Yes, it’s probably quiet inside the elevator too if the fans have stopped working, and since there are no other moving parts… Don’t worry. The cables will not betray and decide to snap because things just got so damn heavy for so long in the same state. Cables that translate elevators do not snap, no matter how long it remains in the same position. The ropes or cables are made to carry the weight of the cars including the weight of the folks inside, as long as the weight limit is not exceeded, but it’s almost never exceeded.

Well, it is quiet now, but it wasn’t just five minutes ago with all the yelling and banging on the elevator walls. He really has settl...- Oh yes, he did try to reach out to us but it was hard to discern any actual words from the noise that the whole thing produced, resonating through the elevator shaft which, if we have to be honest, made it very hard and inconvenient for our workers. No, we did not respond because our workers were busy working on getting him outside. No, believe us when we say that he hasn’t joined the great majority. Anybody who’s been in there for this long would find it unreasonable to keep banging on the walls because the next best thing is to spend some time finding a comfortable position to sit, inside. You don’t look so well. Perhaps you should take a seat and wait before we can let you know for sure when your message will get to him. Ma’… Take a seat… Are you o…- ?

Hello? Ma’am? Can you hea…- Ca...- Dammit, kid. The intercom’s stopped working. Sorry we’re in here a little longer than we were supposed to be, but I think that was your mother on the other end of the line I was on, just before it snapped. But I hope it’s some comfort for you knowing your mother is right outside, the first person you’ll see when we get out. Are you not going to say anything back, kid? You can talk to me, I won’t bite. Listen, I’m as troubled by this as you are and if I don’t look like it, you should know that it’s just a front. Sorry, if that’s a bubble I just burst. But I don’t want you growing up thinking you’re going to feel any different (hopefully, better) than you do now as a kid, when or if you find yourself in a similar situation. And then you’re going to think there’s something wrong with you, feeling the same exact way you did when you were a little kid, as an adult. It’s just a front. And I have good reason to be troubled too, kid, you know? I have a daughter whose birthday it is today, who’s probably waiting for me. I’m already running late, had to leave work late, and now this. I don’t want her thinking I’m running late on purpose, which she wouldn’t have reason to think if she hadn’t just found out that I’m not her real father. Yeah, her ma had to tell her, couldn’t keep it from her any longer. Personally, I would’ve waited a little bit longer, but uhm...she’s not my daughter, huh? I hate this, the final nail in the coffin that pins me as the outsider. I hope she doesn’t start thinking of me as one, kid. Look what I got for her. Pretty cool huh, kid? It’s very unlikely that she’ll ever see this coming. This isn’t just a birthday present, is how I feel about it - which is why it aches me to be in here because I can’t give it to her sooner. Do you think it’ll show that it doesn’t matter to me that she’s blood or not? I think so… I mean, could I have gotten her more? Of course I would’ve, but there was nothing else at the store that she would’ve liked. I didn’t stop with this one, oh no. I did keep looking for more because why would I stop with just one if I know one more would bring her more joy? Or why would I stop at all if that’s what it means, more joy? Personally, I would want to keep going because maybe that’s what’ll hit the nail on the head that we’re still family and that I’ll always see her that way. That’s what you have to do, kid, and keep doing. You have to constantly remind them that they still do mean as much to you, despite the change in the context of the relationship. Otherwise, what reason will they have to not stop from thinking otherwise? - which, kid, is the thinnest point in the ice before everything falls apart. You have to incessantly remind them that you are all still family, and that they have no reason to stop giving you as much importance just because the tiny details of what’s underneath the hood has changed. Why would you stop with just one present if the whole point of getting someone a present is to let them know how much they mean to you, kid? You don’t stop even if they’re sweet enough to tell you that you’ve done enough. Oh kid, you best not listen to that because there’s no metric to this sort of stuff, how much “enough” is. Because if you just so happen to wrongly estimate where the line is, you’ll surely start slipping away and you don’t want that to happen. You don’t want to be thought of as the family and that other guy. You can never escape that kind of isolation, kid, once you’ve established yourself as the other guy even if you continue to stay under the same roof and bring food to the table.

Is it just me or is it getting smaller, in here? They’ll get us out of here in no time, kid. You’ll be able to see your ma just as soon as you step outside, you can count on me. I was almost on the line with her, just before the damn thing stopped working. This button doesn’t seem to be working either, this damn box. Are you wondering what she wanted to say to you? I understand that you don’t want to, or rather, can’t talk right now, kid. You’re too young for this to have already happened. Although, I’d be surprised if it hasn’t since this occurs one too many times in this Building. Oh look at that! Same floor, huh? How come I haven’t seen y...- Oh wait. You’re new to the building. That explains it. Well, now that you know such a thing can happen to these boxes, you’re wondering what else is out there that you don’t already know of?

What else are you taking for granted, that’s about to get shattered by some new type of creature or color? Neilson, do you know if you’ll ever stop asking that? In which case, do you wonder if you’ll always find yourself in some type of box? Sure, you’re eyes are a little widened now, now that you know that this is a possibility and every time something new like this happens you sure as hell are going to walk out of it thinking My Eyes Are A Little Wider Now but isn’t that like letting so much light in that it’s blinding you? I don’t remember it taking this long before you got out, the last time this happened but…the last time this happened, it was your first. What’s the first this time around? Is it hard, having to settle into the filth of the present moment like this with no out or influx of any kind of signal? It is? But shouldn’t you have gotten used to it by now? Oh, right. You never do.

Yes, most definitely, Neilson. I’m sure they’re working real hard to get you out of here.

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