Construction sites are scary. Every time I drive under the mess of metal and concrete that will one day become the new light rail station in Northgate, I feel a tiny bit of relief when nothing falls on me. In my defense, I was traumatized when the kid gets crushed by a windowpane in Final Destination 2. While we’re on the topic, another character in the movie died in an elevator. This brings me to my highly anticipated first elevator conversation blog entry. Yay!
The office I work in is located on the eighth floor of a building with…lots more floors above mine. Yes that is an official way to measure the height of a building. You can also estimate its altitude by how many elevators it has. This one has four wonderful concrete shafts perfect for isolating strangers in small places, thus soliciting so many awkward Seattle freeze moments. To anyone who may have pulled an Ant-Man and became a fly on the wall, I hope you took a video of this particular elevator ride. That’s right, the elevator we took was a working construction zone, complete with dust and unfinished walls. So take my fear of construction zones, mix in my fear of confined spaces, and add 6 other people to make it cozy, and then I will need those deep breathing exercises people use to calm down. Thankfully I didn’t go too far into the rabbit hole before one of my fellow elevator residents broke the silence with “why aren’t the walls done?” Its part of the construction that has taken over the 8th floor…is what I should have said. Instead, I said “it smells good.” I meant the wood boards that were serving as temporary elevator walls smelled good, of course. Everyone was too busy looking at their phones to really notice my brilliant ramblings thus proving the Seattle freeze actually has an upside. So the big awkward elevator ride, my Seattle freeze white whale, happened. And it was fine. And I wasn’t swallowed by a giant mammal so that’s a win.
I am not a morning person. When this first became apparent during my elementary school days, my mom gave me a t-shirt with a picture of a kitten sleeping in a coffee mug with the words “I don’t do mornings” written above it. Ironically I have been known to hiss at people who try to wake me up. But I am technically an adult and therefore must do my adulting, which just happens to involved getting up around 6am for my new job.
I silently cursed the rising sun as my weary body forced itself to walk the two blocks to the bus stop. I wanted to be that kitten happily slumbering in the cup, not the human version of grumpy cat. And of course I woke up too late to make coffee. As I climbed aboard the bus I was aghast to find my only seating options were to sit sideways or share a seat. In my desire to shield any unsuspecting seatmate from the wrath of un-caffeinated Tanya I reluctantly sat in a sideways seat and awaited the nausea. At least that’s what I told myself. Really I was just Seattle frozen.
By the time I got on to my transfer bus for the remaining few stops, I was content to take one of the reserved seats in the front. I was just returning to the workforce after a severe hip flexor/left lower back sprain left me unable to walk or even stand for more than a few minutes at a time. This wasn’t just my first time commuting to a new job; it was the first time I had been able to walk those two blocks to get on a bus. And I was sore! So yes, I sat in the reserved seating. Next to me there was a man with a walker. Across from him was a woman with a cane. Next to her, a young woman with her baby fast asleep in a stroller. I was the only one that didn’t have an easily visible disability, which became a problem when a man in a wheelchair boarded the bus two stops before I got off. Of course I would have moved because it was the right thing to do. However, before I could manage the woman sitting in the first non-reserved seat started pointing at me and loudly proclaiming that I would need to get up. Keep in mind I still haven’t had my coffee. Before I could process what she was saying, she repeated herself, then pointed at the man rolling onto the bus ramp, then pointed that damn finger back at me again. I suddenly wished I was grumpy cat, and then I could bite her and get away with it. Apparently I wasn’t moving fast enough while I was fantasizing about assault with a toothy weapon, because there it was again, the scolding finger judging me. Then the rest of her fingers got involved and she progressed to full on gesturing. And I still hadn’t had any coffee. So I looked her straight in the eye and sternly said “just because I don’t look disabled doesn’t mean I’m not injured. I have a severe hip sprain and I need a seat.” She looked mortified. At this point the bus driver asked if I was okay and made finger lady get up so I could have her seat. That was the first time I truly smiled that day. You see, sometimes its better to stay frozen then be caught wishing you could melt into a puddle.