That title is in no way metaphorical – this post is about me getting stuck in an elevator.
Yesterday was Giorgoba, or Saint George’s Day. Schools were closed and the only private student I had scheduled that day was sick, so I had the entire day off. Therefore, on Tuesday night I elected to party like it was 1999.
I got home from work at about 9:00 and a friend called and invited my gf and I out to dinner. We went to “Loft,” a new American restaurant near Vake park. Should I make an updated “American Food in Tbilisi” page, this place would definitely merit its own entry. I experienced honey mustard chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, actual lemonade, and the best hamburger I’ve had thus far in Georgia.
That’s right – this place edges out Bavarian Brauhaus and Elvis for the top burger slot, although at 16 lari for the basic burger, you definitely pay for quality. This burger had the taste and texture of a real American hamburger – and a good one, at that. It was also the thickest hamburger I’ve had so far over here.
Loft also had real ketchup, mustard, tobasco sauce, and assorted other condiments, and unlike in normal Georgian restaurants you didn’t have to pay extra for them. The fries were just okay – I’ve already stated numerous times that I prefer Georgian-style french fries to American ones anyway – and there weren’t that many of them, but there were also onion rings (which I don’t like, but which are probably a perk for most people).
The mozzarella sticks were not really mozzarella so much as a very mild creamy white cheese, but they were good anyway, and the marinara dipping sauce they came with was fantastic – probably one of the best marinaras I’ve ever had. The chicken fingers were on the small side, but tasty, and the honey mustard was pretty good (not the best I’ve had, but certainly on par with the average diner fare.)
The only downsides were the price and the atmosphere. The restaurant is decorated in this neo-hipster industrial sort of way – lots of metal, weird lighting, an actual loft with a DJ stand – I felt like I was eating at an Urban Outfitters. The literal atmosphere was also pretty bad – when we showed up, the place was incredibly smoky, although as people finished eating and went home it became slightly more tolerable. I know I keep beating this drum, but a restaurant that doesn’t even have a no-smoking section will never feel American to me and I will rarely go to restaurants in Georgia if they are literally hazy with smoke like this place was. There are tons of non-smoking and minimal smoking options for me in Tbilisi and people who think that smoke is unavoidable here are behind the times. On the bright side, Loft has outdoor seating and is about a ten minute walk from my apartment, so come springtime I will definitely be hitting it up.
After dinner we got a cab and went to meet up with some TLG friends at their apartment in Saburtalo. As the night wore on, we ran out of vodka and I volunteered to go on the alcohol run. Three of us got into the elevator and we pushed the button for the ground floor. About halfway down, the elevator stopped for no reason.
Being slightly drunk, we were all a little slow on the uptake regarding the reality of this situation. It took a while for it to sink in that the elevator really just wasn’t going to be going anywhere. I pulled the doors open and there was a concrete wall in front of us. We pushed buttons but nothing happened. We pushed more buttons. We pushed different buttons. We pushed the same buttons. We pushed more different buttons. Nada.
Finally we called for help. We essayed an escape attempt in which we lifted one of the girls up into the elevator shaft overhead – probably stupid, in retrospect – but she couldn’t get the doors open. We brought her back down. We completely failed to remember any of the lyrics to “Love in an Elevator” other than the line “Love in an elevator, livin’ it up while I’m goin’ down,” but we valiantly sang that one line, over and over again, at the top of our lungs. We waited.
Soon, the fire department came. I am told that the swiftness of our rescue was due to the English-Georgian interpretation skills of my lovely gf, who brought the fire department to our aid in record time, so of course big ups to her on that account. The firemen pulled us up through the hole in the elevator ceiling. We got really dirty in the elevator shaft. We went back in the apartment to find that one of our friends had completed our original mission – getting more vodka while we were waylaid – and we returned to partying like nothing had ever happened.
We sang and we drank and we watched YouTube videos of 90’s hip-hop and we sang and we drank and we joked about having been caught in an elevator and we sang and we drank. Somewhere around 4:30 in the morning the party broke up, right around the time I managed to get a cigarette burn, if my dim recollection serves (as a non-smoker, I am not really attuned to the ins and outs of being around people holding stuff that’s on fire). I have a nice blister on the side of my thumb to serve as a memento.
Yesterday I slept it off until like 4:30 in the afternoon, and proceeded to do all of nothing for the rest of the day and finally went to bed around 1:00. I had a mostly sleepless night (maybe not mostly, but certainly I remember waking up numerous times and drifting in and out of a shallow, sleep-like state for at least an hour or two both directly after going to sleep and directly before waking up). Today I had a nice day at school (my classroom management experiment is progressing nicely). I wrote a blog entry with perhaps more than my usual amount of parenthetical statements (like this one). Now we’re caught up to the present.
All in all, being stuck in an elevator was kind of a let-down. It wasn’t terrifying, or interesting, or life-changing, or boring… it just, was. I guess that my usual fear is that I’ll be stuck in an elevator when I have to like, be somewhere (somewhere other than in an elevator, that is). Georgian elevators are like the definition of sketchy. I guess what I’m saying is, for being stuck in an elevator, this experience couldn’t have come at a better time. Now I can check “get stuck in an elevator” off my big list of things that I can brag about having done in my life (like skateboarding under a truck, catering a wedding, rescuing someone at sea, teaching in Georgia) that theoretically make me a more interesting person, but the experience itself didn’t contain any sort of… content… that was like, bad, or anyhing. It wasn’t harrowing. It wasn’t an awesome character-building experience. It was just an unexpected 30 minute break from drinking.
I guess after living in Georgia for fifteen months, being stuck in an elevator was actually weirdly comforting. Because, sure, you’re stuck in an elevator – but on the other hand, at least you know, as long as you’re in there, that nothing crazy is going to happen.
So like… Happy St. George’s Day. Or something.