Last week I chatted with a long-time friend from my IBM days. We caught up on our families, friends, thoughts about the world and whatever else came to mind. We revisited, finally with humor, the time we got stuck in the elevator at work. Mind you, she suffers from claustrophobia.

“Claustrophobia: the fear of being enclosed in a small space or room and having no escape.” I’ve experienced that fear on a few occasions: during a long, overdue flight to California; in a crowded elevator; an MRI scanner or being pushed along the crowded streets of Manhattan. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is frightening.

We were going to the cafeteria to get our morning coffee and entered the elevator, just the two of us, to go down four floors. The elevator moved quietly and smoothly down the three floors and stopped on the main floor. We waited for the doors to open. Nothing happened. The doors remained closed and I immediately sensed that my friend was becoming frantic.

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She started banging on the doors with her fists and then trying to pull the doors open with her fingers. “Help me! Get me out of here!” she yelled.

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