I always took the stairs to our fourth-floor apartment. Always. In the four years I have lived in the building, I have not once taken the elevator. No one understands my ‘fear’ of elevators, but it is really my serious dislike of small places and the possibility of someone else being in that small space with me. I grew up with several siblings in a two-bedroom apartment and I never had any room for myself. These feelings of wanting my own have intensified over the years of not wanting to be within a few feet of people I do not know. I don’t quite understand it, but that’s all right. I know what I want and I know how I feel.
Today I told myself I needed to break out and get over my fear of the elevator. I needed to. Next week I was starting a new job on the eighth floor in a new building where you have to have a key card to get into the stairwell. And I wasn’t sure I was actually going to get one. So I had to retrain myself to take the elevator. Quickly. I knew the elevators were safe and that nothing had ever happened to the elevators in our building – they had never been out of order and were serviced regularly. Today was the day I would overcome my fear. And today is the first time in four years that the power in the building has gone out.