Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tower of Terror

Have I ever mentioned my crippling, debilitating fear of heights? The terrible sense of vertigo I feel looking up or down if I am not solidly planted on bedrock? My innate panic each time the doors of a glass elevator open? The trouble I have getting onto a down escalator, standing at the top and letting three or four steps go by before I can psych myself up enough to get on one?


Well, it has suddenly become relevant and worth mentioning, because I am away at a conference for a few days in Atlanta, and this is the inside of my hotel:

elevator core

Yes, that's right. The inside of my hotel is hollow, and the elevators are in the middle. We are staying at the downtown Marriott Marquis, whose website proudly and repeatedly boasts about their 37 story indoor atrium.


You have to walk across a tiny bridge to get to the elevator, from any direction. I know, because I circled the entire lobby level going, "I can't walk across that. There has to be an elevator near a wall."

There aren't.

All of the elevators are in the middle, and they are all made of glass:

glass elevator

I thought I was doing sort of ok with the glass elevator until I got on one that had another person on it. Before I could say anything, or even hit the button, she said, "Oh, gosh, it'll be ok. Just turn around and face the doors. It goes really fast." I can only imagine what I must have looked like since total strangers are spontaneously consoling me over things I did not say out loud.

The elevator is only half of the nightmare, though. After you get off, this is the hallway that you have to walk through to get to your room:

clinging hallways

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say "hallway"?

Because what I meant to say was "three foot wide continuous balcony overlooking 37 stories of continuous wide open space".

By the end of the conference I will either have acclimated or died. In the meantime, I have three hours before the welcome reception. That should be just long enough to convince myself to leave my room and get in the elevator again.


JMBower said...

Our place in Gatlinburg was the same way, and we were on the 15th (top) floor. 15 floors of hollow center, glass elevator vertigo fun.

Falke said...

My vote: Stay in your room. Conferences are boring anyway.

Steve Pearson said...

My parents and I had a dramatic experience in the Marquis when we accidentally boarded the express elevator and couldn't figure out which floor we wanted to go to before someone on the top floor called it. Since the elevator didn't realize we were on it, it suddenly zoomed to the top and all of us were holding on to the railing for our lives. Even my dad, who flew fighter jets for a living, was freaked out by the experience.

Marcheline said...

I stayed in that same hotel when I was a flight attendant. I loved it!

Imagine the question marks over my head when the crew was walking to their rooms, and one of the pilots said, "I have to walk on the inside near the walls. I'm afraid of heights."

Um, dude? You're a PILOT. Don't you spend all day sitting a foot from a pane of glass at 35,000 feet above the ground?