by Alissa Bader
For this month's dare I was assigned to sing "Some Enchanted Evening" (god knows why that song) in an elevator. A perverse version of Muzak, if you will, only live.
I imagined that maybe people would ask me for requests. Or they'd throw money at me. Or I'd run into a famous Broadway producer who'd be so enthralled by my voice that I'd be signed for the starring role in his next gala musical. Or maybe people would just look at me angrily and tell me to shut the fuck up.
I chose the elevator at the Empire State building, which is perhaps the mother of all elevators: eighty nonstop stories, and crammed with tourists. As long as I'm making an ass out of myself, I figured, why not give the tourists some memories they can share with their grandchildren? A six-foot-one woman (that's me!) singing show tunes in an elevator theoretically should rattle their non-New York sensibilities.
But these people were so polite. Okay, someone whispered something loudly in German while staring right at me, and I saw a group of Asian tourists scooting away to another corner. But that was about it. I was singing a little softly (I felt silly, all right?), but I could still be heard. I thought about going up and trying it again, but the line to the elevator stretched all the way to the lobby, and I wasn't in a patient mood that day.
Next I tried the Manhattan Mall, an enormous shopping center with glass-walled elevators. I quickly discovered the really frightening thing about these elevators: the doors have a reaction time of about three nanoseconds. It was a big shopping day and the elevators were crammed full of humanity, so I wound up near the front, right next to the control panel. There I was, trying to sing, when the elevator doors began to close on a group of old ladies. I couldn't find the door-open button in time; being a good citizen, I wedged my body between the doors. Kind of horizontally, if you can picture that. And I've still got the bruise.
After that, I figured it was time to call it a day. I limped my way toward the entrance and then it happened. The horror of Running Into People You Have Not Seen In a Long Time. And the horror of having them recognize you.
So I told my friends what I was doing (their reaction: "No shit? People pay you to do that?"), and then I had an idea.
Five seconds later, all four of us were in one of the glass elevators. This turned out to be the best time yet, because with us in the elevator was a group of little kids. They were fascinated by everything that was going on around themthe doors, the glass walls, the lurching floors, and especially my singing. I never thought it was possible to sing show tunes with little children screaming (in time) in the background. Rodgers and Hammerstein are probably turning over in their graves after what we did to their song.
God. I can only imagine what they're going to make me do next time.
Got a truth or dare for Alissa? Send them in to TorD@stim.com!
Alissa attends Hunter College and is an editorial assistant for a Major University Press; her goal is to figure out How To Make a Living.