Our office has access control. We carry cards which we touch against pads to open doors from corridors, stairwells and lifts. Public areas in effect. Mostly we carry these cards on lanyards around our necks.
This morning I was in early to do a ‘breakfast briefing’ – you know, describing what a sausage is. 😄 Language makes me laugh sometimes. Anyhow, I digress.
My porridge instruction was to be on one floor, my office on another. I carried some materials, a cup of tea and various facilitation aids up to the room my croissant warming was to take place in. I left everything on a table and set off back to the office to print something.
On the stairs, a realisation dawned. My lanyard and access card were on the table. I was trapped in the stairwell. A humanless void between the areas of work. I was alone. Caught in the connecting arteries of office life.
I knocked on a door and peered helplessly through the narrow glass slit on one side. It was early though. Few people were around. My tapping went unanswered. Suddenly I heard the ping of the lift arriving two floors up. In sad desperation I bounded up the stairs hoping to meet someone I could beg to grant me escape from the void. I arrived just in time to hear the click of the door, closing, as they had already entered the human space, leaving me in the soulless vacuum. I trudged back down to my tapping door.
I smiled at my ridiculous situation and my preposterous attempts to escape the void. Why is there nobody around to save me? How will my willing breakfast briefers ever discover good yogurt to fruit compote ratios?
The lift on a floor above pinged again. I turned and took several steps before ruling out another fruitless jaunt upstairs. Peering through my tapping door once more I finally saw my rescuer. An internal passer-by responded and freed me from my humanless void.
Nobody starved. Breakfast briefing was restored.
My moments alone though, trapped in contactless oblivion were curious. My panic, my irrational behaviour, my helplessness, my sense of isolation.