Why I Am Afraid of Elevators

Aubrey Roemmich, Editor

Over Christmas break, I often found myself on my parents’ couch watching whatever rerun of an old movie they were watching that night. One night “Speed,” a cheesy, action-packed cop movie, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock was playing. The movie opens in an office building with way too many people getting on an elevator. Predictably the elevator stops. Cue the cops, and red lights, and the revelation that only a very cute, buzzed cut Keanu Reeves from the 90’s can save the people in the elevator. Of course, the elevator gets stuck between floors and as officers are pulling people out, I could hardly watch as the car continued to lurch down. Despite it only being fifteen minutes into the movie, I kept waiting for the elevator car to drop and to cut those poor people in half. Everyone made it out alive, but that did not stop my hands from getting sweaty, my heart racing, and my eyes remaining half closed the whole time. For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of elevators, and there are many reasons why. I do not like the small box, the lurching, or loss of control.  

Elevators are awkward, especially when you are in them with people you do not know. I have never been in a spacious elevator, and I doubt they exist. Elevator etiquette has always escaped me. When do I hold the door for someone? Is it rude to press ‘close door?’ Should you ask what floor they are going to and press the button for them? My list of questions is endless, and no one has an answer except, “it is only awkward if you make it awkward.” I promise you it is awkward no matter what I do.  

As for the lurching, creaking, stopping, and shuttering, I have seen far too many movies where those exact things signal the beginning of the end. I cannot think of a worse ending than being cut in half or free falling in a giant metal box. At the very least, how embarrassing is it to get stuck in an elevator and need someone to rescue you? I needed no further proof than the Elevator of Death MythBusters episode to be wary of elevators for the rest of my life.  

The worst part about all of this is I see the appeal of elevators. They are an important accessibility tool, and no one ever really wants to walk upstairs, but until people stop getting stuck in elevators, I think I will stick to the stairs. 


Aubrey Roemmich is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]