In September, I had a life changing moment. I traveled to the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive. Overall, I had a great time. The event is in Vegas, how could it be bad? It was a blast. I got to meet in person, for the first time ever, a long time friend from social media (Myspace to be exact, remember that place?). We had talked on the phone dozens of times, and emailed and supported each other through several business endeavors but we had never met in person. It was absolutely surreal. I was standing, facing the check in tables when I heard my name called out. I turned around to find Jennifer standing there clear as day. I could not believe my eyes at first. At the same time, I knew it was her! We spent the day off and on walking around, chatting, and catching up. A glorious thunderstorm dropped huge rain drops on us in the heat of the summer. Valerie, from ‘fuse’ Magazine and I also got to meet that weekend in person. The three of us had a great time chatting and hanging out. Amy Harway, of Tribal Fusion Faire greatness, also traveled with me to Vegas by car and her, Val, and I had a fun-filled lunch/dinner at a little Mexican place at a nearby hotel.
Here’s the really life changing portion of the week. The second day there in Vegas, I was headed down to the event to meet Samira there and see if there was anything that I could help with. Just as I was about to exit the elevator, Lisa (Samira’s right hand gal for LVBDI) was just getting in. She asked if I could help to set up for the luncheon that day and I agreed. She pushed the button for the 24th floor, the one that we were staying on – something, by the way, that had made me quite nervous when we got there but that I was quickly getting used to. Several people were in the elevator with us and exited on a few different floors. The last people to get out and leave just the two of us for the rest of the trip, got out somewhere around the 20th floor. When Lisa had gotten in, the doors were acting strangely by not shutting quickly or opening quickly, but we really hadn’t thought anything of it other than the elevator needed to be serviced. We stood there quietly waiting for our floor when all of a sudden, the elevator made a very loud screeching noise and jumped to a very hard stop! We looked at each other, trying to assess the situation. The doors eventually opened a bit to show that we were between floors!! Now, my first instinct was to get out of the contraption before anything worse could happen. I was either going to crawl out to the top floor that I could see or abandon the elevator into the shaft through the top with a boost from Lisa. All of these things were going through my mind when the doors shut, the elevator moved once again and although jerked abruptly to a stop, this time was on the floor that we needed. We both quickly leapt out of the elevator. We were a bit shook up, but nothing severe and we just made a decision out loud that we would ride in that particular elevator again (elevator 33). I called the front desk to let them know what it did and that it might need to be serviced. This was Thursday – they sent someone to work on it on Monday.
We went about getting the room ready for the luncheon and having never been afraid of elevators before, I really didn’t think much of it, other than I was not going to get into that elevator again. There were 6 of them in the tower we were in, there was no need to use that one. I rode up and down in those elevators for the entire next day, with no glitches or issues. On Sunday, there was an after party downstairs in one of the conference rooms. It was really a lot of fun. Harry Saroyan MC’d the show and there were so many beautiful dancers and great live music afterward. It was fabulous. At one point during the show, I needed to use the restroom. The public restroom was closed for cleaning and I thought, I’ll just run up to the room really quickly. I headed for the elevator, of course avoiding elevator 33 at all costs. I ended up in elevator 34. Great, no worries. There were a few people in the elevator with me as we traveled up. People having a great time, people exhausted, and people a little too drunk. All of them exited by the 20th floor. Once alone, the elevator began to shriek and scream as the other one had done a few days before. I was a lot more nervous this time, having just had the scary experience on Thursday with Lisa. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths and the elevator came to a jerking halt. The doors opened and I was on my floor safe and sound. I used the restroom in the room and headed back down, vowing to now add elevator 34 to my list of unusable elevators. I even considered walking down 21 flights of stairs to the 3rd floor where the after party was being held, but decided to “suck it up” and use the elevator.
Monday, Samira, Zymirrah, and Brad all decided to stay over and have a “take over the world via event promotion” meeting. It was fun and we had a great talk about lots of topics. When we were done, we all headed back to Samira’s room, having stored all of our luggage there after checking out. I had already warned everyone against elevator 33 and 34 and told them what had happened. Other than planning on not taking those two elevators, the subject was not really being discussed. Instead, we were laughing and punch drunk on the long weekend during our elevator ride in elevator 36. Again, several people rode with us in the elevator. Again, everyone but our group got out by the 20th floor. After the last people got out, the elevator began to go up as usual but then went dropping, no plummeting is a better word, down several floors! We dropped from the 24th floor down to the 20th. The elevator came to an abrupt stop, but the doors did not open. Samira pushed the 24 button again and we again began to go back up. We got to the 23rd floor before the elevator plummeted again down to the 20th floor. Z is screaming, I’m holding on to Brad, Z, and Samira for dear life as if a bear hug would save us if the elevator free-falls to the bottom floor. Again, it stops, but the doors don’t open. It goes back up and drops again for a 3rd time!! I now have tears streaming out of my eyes and Samira has a great idea, she pushes 22, 23, and 24 thinking that maybe it will let us out on a different floor. Finally the elevator goes up to the 23rd floor, but the doors don’t open. We stand there for what feels like an eternity, but in reality is probably less than a minute. The doors open and I seriously jump out of the elevator like a cartoon character – I can see the “boing” pattern I have made in the air with my incredibly quick leap. We hunt for the stairs – which are almost hidden behind a white, unmarked door. We walk up the last flight to the 24th floor. I immediately call the hotel front desk to tell them what happened and I am greeted by a very unsurprised, unenthusiastic, “we’ll look at it”.
I consider taking the stairs down 24 flights and sending my luggage down with a bell boy. Samira suggests taking an elevator in a different tower, I agree but only if she will go with me. The elevator behaves all the way down, but I have to say that I now have a tinge of fear while riding in an elevator.
To be continued…