Friday, 12 March 2004

Eventful Afternoon

Seldom does such excitement reign over the office of a Friday afternoon.

DS and I were the only ones left in our unit - she had just had a bunch of stationery delivered and was busily opening and checking and cooing over the loverly coloured post-its, pens, ink cartridges, and guff that had arrived (the excitement of an administrator's world - stationery orders are like christmas, complete with boxes and packaging). I had finished a second piece of work this afternoon (what achievement and sense of completion! Almost too much to handle in one day). Way in the distance a faint ringing, like a doorbell, could be heard. It sort of infiltrated my ears without registering that it might be something that I should think about.

K rushed into our unit, "is anyone meeting with a Laurence? He's stuck in the lift!"

We looked blank. The three of us went out to the landing, in turn peering through the tiny window into the lift. Its a goods lift - the kind with double consetina doors that have to be slammed shut, big grey things, there are eight halogen lights embedded in the ceiling, of which only one is ever working, so its kind of dim inside, the walls are mirrored halfway up. Peering throught the tiny window it was hard to see anything, apart from the handles of a delivery trolley.

"It's the XL delivery man!"

"But he left ages ago..."

"OH - the ringing!!"

K took charge. "Laurence, have you tried to open the door a crack and reshut it? Press another floor and see if the lift will go down at all. Ok, I'm gonna call the lift maintenance people." From my desk I could hear K relaying information, "Laurence - lift maintenance said they are about an hour away. Are you ok? If thats too long to wait I'll call the fire brigade". Much discussion back in the office about which fire station to call. K calls. Some discussion ensues. I don't know if the fire brigade are called or not. "Laurence, we have just been called by lift maintennce, they are on their way but they are currently just at Camden. We have both unit doors open so if you need anything just shout."

HS came out, "Do you need a glass of water, Laurence?"

"HS, how will you get the water in there if he says yes?"

HS hoarsly whispers, "I just thought if he said yes, we'd have to find a faster way out. He sounded very weak when I first called into him but he said he was just tired and was falling asleep." Fortunately not a claustrophobe or a panicker.

45 minutes elapse. Suddenly a loud long sound of the buzzer. "LIFT MAINTENANCE ARE HERE!" K, DS and HS rush onto the landing. The lift maintenance men swing open a hatch in the ceiling and within minutes the doors open to reveal Laurence huddled in a corner sitting on the floor a bit dazzled.

"Would you like a glass of water or a cup of tea before you go?"

"No, I'm fine I'll just be on my way."

Unbelieving, HS tries again, "Are you sure we can't get you anything, your perfectly welcome?"

"Nah." Laurence scuttles off down the stairs with his trolley. Lift maintenence reveal that it was his vigorous slamming of the door in the first place that pulled the inner door out of its runner that caused the lift to jam. Perhaps thats why he scurried off poor man.

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