If you listen closely, you can hear the approaching election. “But Emily,” you say, “Voting hasn’t really even begun.” Aha! That is what you think. But 99% of Americans have already decided. Besides, the election is only partly about the voting. It’s also about the noise. The debates, the politicians, the party lines, the donkeys, the elephants, the pizzas, the bars, the news anchors, the canvassers, the street celebrations — everything adds up to one big cacophony of democracy in action.
Speaking of democracy in action, this is FUNNY. You should watch this movie clip because it’s a great old crack-up, whether you’re Republican or Democrat. Everyone seems to conveniently forget that Obama is half-white.
Wasn’t that great? Yeah, I thought so.
You want to know a pet peeve of mine? Ok, I know you don’t, but I’ll say anyway. Canadians posting uneducated comments on Facebook. Heck, American posts can be fairly uneducated too, but their stupidity comes with their right to vote. When my international friends exhibit the same lack-of-research, it irks me. GOOGLE IT. Know the facts; read the actual transcripts. Know the issues; look up the actual statistics. I don’t care who you endorse — just know why America’s future matters, and understand that your thoughts will forever remain within your red-white-and-maple leaf borders. Now would be a good time to shout out to my friend Hannah, who asked me for some good reads. Hannah: thank you.
Since I’m genuinely a chipper person, we’re going to all move past my criticism of my Facebook friends. It’s unlikely they’re the bunch reading this anyway. Ahem, my apologies.
Apparently I have not shared the story of when I got stuck in an elevator at the Department of Homeland Security. Guys, this story is a keeper. I am in a class of 29. We were in alphabetical order to clear security at DHS, and the first half of the group was escorted up into the board room where we would be meeting with our speakers. Well, if you’ve been living under a rock for your whole life, then you didn’t know that I am at the end of the alphabet. Yes, that’s right. The very, very end. This means that I was also the very last person into the second elevator.
DHS has a nice building, and their elevators are pretty snazzy. I’m talking stainless steel boxes, complete with carpeted floors and mirrored ceilings. One girl in the program jokes about the time she got stuck in an elevator. Hah — not funny. You will soon see why.
Well, as we chug our way up to the fourth floor, we suddenly feel the elevator drop several feet. Girls screamed. When it became apparent that we were not getting out any time soon, we pushed the help button.
“Hello?” we hear.
“Yes, hi ma’am. We’re stuck in an elevator.”
“Oh, ok. How many of there are you?”
“15?! I’m gonna have to put you on hold.”
“W-wait, what? Why? How long?”
“Only about 20 to 25 minutes.”
You can imagine how disheartening it is to hear your federal life-line assure you that 20 to 25 minutes was how long you’d be crammed in a steel box, three and a half floors up, with 15 people.
Eventually we hear a knock on the doors.
“CAN YOU HEAR ME?”
Uh…what are we supposed to say? No? “Yes, we can hear you.”
“HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN THERE?”
And then there was silence.
Eventually there’s another knock on the door.
“CAN YOU HEAR ME?”
“Yep, how ’bout that? We can still hear you.”
“DO YOU NEED ANY WATER?”
“How can you get us any water?”
“I’M NOT SURE. BUT DO YOU NEED ANY?”
I’ll be honest. We were getting kinda sassy by this point in the conversation. He leaves, and all 15 of us remained trapped in the elevator.
By now, it is hot. Water is dripping down the steel walls, and the mirrored ceiling has fogged up. The men have lost their blazers, and the ladies are quickly losing their make-up. Sweat is the only water we have at this point.
After a while we hear one guy shouting: “The air conditioning! It’s working!”
“Nope,” I said without missing a beat. “That’s my passport as a fan.”
Hope died, once again. Everyone else had only brought drivers licenses.
Finally, FINALLY, we hear knocking again.
“CAN YOU HEAR US?”
What, do they think we’re dead or something? “Yes,” comes the unanimous, 15-voice choir.
“WE’RE GOING TO GET YOU OUT NOW.” Oh really? Believe it when I see it. “WE NEED YOU TO OPEN THE DOOR.”
Our escort–dear, poor woman that she was–said, “Sir, if we could get the doors open, we wouldn’t be stuck in an elevator.”
Eventually, the man walked us through how to pull the sliding doors open. We managed, but were staring at the inside of an elevator shaft. The doors to Floor 3 took up the bottom two feet of our view, and the doors to Floor 4 took up the top two feet of our view. In other words, our options were crawl or climb.
Because I had been the last one on the elevator (being a “Z” and all), I was closest to the doors. Our unknown “rescuer” told me that I needed to find a door lever. The exterior doors can’t open without the safety being pulled from inside the shaft. I’m quite proud to say that I did figure it out, and they peeled open the doors. We were staring into the faces of a full DHS fire brigade. Thanks?
They got us a ladder and one-by-one we all shimmied down into the full welcome party, where we were treated to cups of water and a liability report. I fell to my knees and shouted: “I’m free at last. I’m free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.” Ok, not really, but I should have.
Since then, I have waged the murky depths of Hurricane Sandy, the security procedures of the White House, the marble hallways of the Capitol, the utilitarian maze of the Department of State, and the hood. I’m a survivor.
Well folks, I’ve got a big paper to finish up by Wednesday night, and I haven’t even begun procrastinating yet. I’ve got three hours of Pinterest and six hours of Facebook to kill before I can even get started.
p.s. I went to the Department of State today. I learnt encouraging news. The DOS owns the American seal — you know, the eagle flying with arrows and olive branches? — and they have a small exhibit on it. DID YOU KNOW that it took six years and three committees to decide on the design back in the late 1700s? Government has not changed, my friends. Not in the slightest.