Bartle Library, Binghamton University, New York
No – – – this is not normal. The elevator is picking up speed.
I internally hope that someone on a lower floor has pushed a button. If that is so, then the elevator will slowly decelerate until it stops on that floor.
If so, do I get off the elevator and walk down the remaining flights of stairs? Or do I stay on the elevator to save face with the students. They would surely recognize my fear and think me a hypocrite if I got off. I had just reassured them, by my calm demeanor, that there was nothing wrong with the elevator. So how could I now exit if the elevator stopped on a middle floor? I would surely look like a fool to them. Maybe I could say “Oh, this is my floor” and then exit. But my actions have belied my selfish plan. They have observed that I have not pushed any buttons since I stepped onto the elevator.
This lie to my ‘self’, that someone will probably push a button on a lower floor, is buoyed by the thoughts that it is the time when all students change class locations. It is not only possible but more likely probable that someone on a lower floor will push a button and the elevator will stop for them.
I no longer wonder what is in the backpacks of the students. I no longer wonder about the lecture and its truth or consequences, its history or its bearing on the future. I only wonder about my “self”, my “essence”, my “nature.” Do these things that I just heard in the lecture have any bearing on this moment?
My realization is; “This may very well be the end of me.”
TOMORROW: 11th Floor