Thirty minutes past the proscribed quitting time I – in sharp gray suit, curly hair tucked under my stereo headphones, and bright red sneakers – sigh with resignation, shut down my computer, and walk out to wait for an elevator.
(I am most likely singing along to an Arcati Crisis song at the top of my lungs while walking in a circle, because that is what I do anytime I am alone and waiting for or riding in an elevator.)
The elevator opens.
In it is our CEO and all three of our SVPs. They grin like a school of sharks.
I sheepishly slide my headphones off of my ears, nod hello, and squeeze in next to the highest ranking woman in the company.
The doors close. The air hangs silent for a moment, and then they continue with the conversation they were having when I arrived.
I am sorely tempted to push a button. The floors pass ever so slowly. Any button. Each floor passes, doors shut and unrelenting.
After what seems like an eternity of biting my lip and pretending not to understand the fine details of their conversation, the elevator finally reaches our upper lobby.
The doors open, and we all hang for a second to see if anyone is going to give anyone else the right of way. “Oh, you first.” “Oh, no, I couldn’t.” “Well, you are the CEO.” “Yes, but…”
The wait continues. We are in danger of the elevator doors closing and sending us back up for another excruciating ride.
I am dead center – a straight shot out the door. And I am the lowest-ranking employee, so it made sense for me to exit first.
Were the doors beginning to inch shut? I would not survive a ride back up.
Flashpoint. I dart out of the elevator … at the exact same moment that the highest ranking woman in the company also makes a break for it.
She was, after all, the only woman in the elevator.
In the continuing silence my world slips into impossibly slow motion – I feel my cushy hips rebound sideways off of her slight frame, feel as though I can hear my cellulite churning to reform itself.
It is not just a little bump, either. No. It is a straight on, full-contact body-check straight out of raucous-yet-executive game of deck hockey. I pray futilely that the the men will all pile on (or at least cheer) to make the moment less awkward.
Finally, my forward motion arrested mostly by utter mortification, I turn back to regard my partner. She is askew, as if I delivered said body check followed by a headlock/noogie combo.
Hers is the laugh of drops of water slicking off of an icicle.
“In a hurry?”
(ps: Dear management: I redacted all of the names and sensitive information. And the mean parts. Particularly the word “bony,” which I had mistakenly used twice. So, please do not Dooce me. Thank you.)