Elevator in the Chrysler Building. I pass by these every day. Pretty!

Funny story.

I work in mid-town Manhattan, on the east side. My building is attached to the Chrylser Building; there is a tunnel connecting the two.

I work on the 18th floor. A couple weeks ago, we expanded into some of the offices on the 17th floor. I only need to go down there a few times a week, and I always take the elevator. I’ve heard there are stairs, but haven’t paid a lot of attention.

So the other day, (Wednesday), I’m walking toward the elevator, and I see, tucked down a little hall-let, a door marked Staircase. So I go for it.

I walk down the flight of stairs till I see the door marked 17th floor.

It is locked.

There is a sign that says that entry is granted on the 15th and 18th floors.

I walk up to the door to the 18th floor.

It is locked.

I knock, but not with any real conviction, because it’s not really near where people are.

My cell phone is back at my desk.

And I’m already thinking about Mad Men, even though I know that regardless of how this plays out, I will not be walking up any stairs.

I walk down to the 15th floor and go to the door.

It is locked.

I am full-on upset. It’s scary in there, it’s a little smelly, and it goes round and round. Plus there’s the whole embarrassment factor.

I continue walking down. very. slowly.

Because I am not feeling my best. I’m halfway through a course of antibiotics and not quite recovered from all that ails. So I am being quite cautious around the notion of dizziness and vertigo.

Every few floors there is a door with a sign that says that you can enter here. But every one–Just Kidding! This must be all pre-9/11. This is the kind of stupid thing that has happened in Manhattan. Gee. I feel so secure.

Down, slowly, stepping, poising, filled with apprehension and a bit of malaise.

And also? It’s kind of hard.

As I approach the door at the 1st floor, it occurs to me only then that I might be seriously, royally, movie-scene screwed. I pull the door handle.

It is locked.

I’m heading to the basement.

The next level the door opened. Dumped me out onto the street (where there was a stanchion blocking the doorway, which fortunately was not too heavy for me to move out of my way.

Now I go back into the building, but I don’t have my scan-y card with me. But I see someone I know who had just scanned in, and he happens to be our messenger (we have shared services with another location, and this guy just goes back and forth all day, and so the security guys know him), who came back and got the guy to scan me in. If he hadn’t been there, security would have had to call my office, to my further humiliation.

And I felt a little sore.

But here is the thing.

The next day? Holy crap I could hardly walk. Turns out that, while not so aerobically challenging as walking up 23 flights of stairs, walking down those stairs was quite a workout. Especially to me, who does not work out. I do yoga, but these muscle groups seem a little different… also, because I’d been sick, I hadn’t practiced in over a week, so most of my strength had regressed to goo.

Today is Saturday. I still have pain. Walking down stairs is particularly difficult. Kind of wild. Now I’m wondering if it would have been less stressful had I just run down each flight. I suspect the slowness as I fought gravity contributed.

But anyway. Other than all its trauma, I thought that, in the wake of all this discussion of Red in the Face, it was pretty funny.