Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting MLK Library. I met some nice security guards. I took in the expansive first-floor room. It actually looked bright and clean. There were plenty of staff. The lines were orderly. I thought: this is a new day for D.C.’s flagship library!

I then joined two other patrons on the elevator. Between the first and second floors, I thought: Wow, these elevators are actually modern looking. A woman exited on the second floor. Then the doors closed.

Then nothing.

“I don’t think we’re moving,” I told the lady next to me.

I have claustrophobia. Bad. I actually got a case of it at the Uptown—crammed into a sold-out showing of Indiana Jones actually gave me the sweats. I had to chew on a straw to calm down. After an extra moment of no elevator movement, I could feel my heart hitting the panic mode.

I thought: Maybe I should chew gum.

Instead I exclaimed: “Oh, God. What do we do?”

The lady and I began to press buttons. Any buttons.

Then she noticed I wasn’t being so brave.

“Now don’t go chicken on me!” she said.

Perhaps the best putdown I’ve ever received.

A moment later the door opened to the second floor again. I thought: Freedom. I dashed off the elevator. “I’m going to take the stairs,” I told the lady.

The lady seemed relieved that we would no longer be riding together.

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