October 3, 2015

I say elevator, he says l'ascenseur ...[Mutual Obligations ep 23]

After  my last underwhelming appointment, when I waited more than an hour to see my new Job Network case manager,  I today - decided to rate zero - any expectations for my second appointment.

I naturally take the lift, since the stairs can be somewhat exhausting for a dame of a certain age.

There are only three floors, so I wonder why it's taking so long for the lift to reach ground level.

As usual, in the nearby corner is a stack of the latest Weekly Reviews.  I pick up a copy and flick through the pages.

Still no lift.

So I glare at the magazine's front cover shot of Delta Goodrem. And I can't help thinking, damn those svelte twenty, and thirty-something goddesses. She's got the whole look going, that men (and annoying male job interviewers can't resist): the long tresses, fake eyelashes, shirt undone exposing a hint of voluptuous breast. Probably fake as well. And I'm thinking how can I compete with THAT? May as well give up and become Sadie the cleaning lady ....but where's that lift?

Finally it arrives.
I enter, look in the mirror. Why are elevator mirrors always so unflattering? From my reflection, all I see is Whistler’s Mother, on a bad hair day. Oh why can’t I look like Delta Goodrem? ....even a midlife reverse-botoxed version?

But my only chances in that direction would be as a fourth Kransky Sister, playing my newly acquired zither.  I've got the right hair for that gig. Just need the polka dot shirt. One has to start somewhere.
And I’m thinking maybe I COULD look like Delta Goodrem,  if I had the funds to get the microdermabrasion, teeth whitened, all-over fake tan, smokey-eye look down pat,  hair salon streaked tresses, bit of botox, some targeted liposuction ....and afford a personal trainer who could help me lose my stubborn "baby bump."  But at least the said "baby bump" gives the impression that I’m a late starting yummy mummy.

Well it's one positive way to look at it.
So I’m in the lift, and press both floors two and three, as due to an hormonal blurring of the brain cells, have forgotten which darn floor the agency is on.
But after a couple of minutes, the doors close. And finally I’m on my way to reporting for duty to my case manager. Here we go again, GroundHog Day at the government (un)employment agency.
However, I notice there’s a strange electrical smell in the lift ...like burning rubber. And then I feel a shudder, and sudden loud clanking noise. Things aren’t looking or sounding good.
It’s one of those lifts where the doors open, on both rear and front ends. 
The lift stops at the second level.  And with my back facing the rear doors, they open  to
let someone in.

Always, in such situations, I hope  please don’t let the person entering be some lunatic loopy potential sleazebag, axe-murderer, serial killer. You get the picture?
And just as the person enters, the lights go out and all goes silent.  Deathly silent.
And there’s complete darkness. Just what I need.
By their cough, I can tell it’s a bloke that’s entered (and PLEASE not the aforementioned - sleazebag, axe-murderer, potential mangy serial killer.)

But I can smell cashmere soap on them, so at least they're freshly showered, and less likely to be a serial killer?
I hear him breathing and finally he says,  "Allo! Who is in ‘ere?"
I say,  "It’s  Carmen."
And I’m thinking, that accent, that voice ....where have I heard it before?

Could it possibly be ...monsieur?!
I say, "I'm Carmen. Is that you monsieur?  Do you remember me from your class?  I think we’re stuck."

Monsieur says, "Non! Non est pas possible..?"
I say, "Do you know anything about lifts?"

Monsieur says,  "Non. But don’t worry."
I say,  "I need water, air, a fireman,  a Channel Ten Eyewitness News journalist reporting on the scene....and snacks?  And where is the emergency button?!!!"
And I tell monsieur I’m feeling so panicky,  I might just faint.

We both furiously feel around the walls of the lift for the damn emergency button.

I tell monsieur I think I might collapse ....but advise him not to worry -  since despite being an unemployee - I’ve got private health cover! ....only just.
Monsieur says, "We will just have to vait. Just calm down. All vill be ok. And he puts his firm strong hands gently on my shoulder.
And I’m coming to realise that perhaps – most likely - I’m trembling more for being in such close confines with monsieur, than for being stuck in a lift going no-where.
Meanwhile I consider things could be diabolically worse, I could be stuck in a lift with Australian MP Christopher Pyne, rabbiting on about the new Liberal leadership.

We both continue stumbling around in the darkness, desperately trying to find any button that will end our internment, and get those stubborn doors to open once and for all.
I feel monsieur getting closer to me.  Hear his heavy breathing .....as he searches for that
damn emergency button.

As I frantically skim every surface for that button, I can't help skimming monsieur. And discover HIS buttons. Suit buttons!

"Most impressive monsieur! "

Love a capable man in a suit. Nice cloth too.

"Merci ....pas du tout." Says monsieur.

"Are you off to a job interview monsieur?"

"Oui oui ...but nothing special," He says.

"Is it off the rack or tailor made?" I ask monsieur.
But then I start to feel weak, and tell monsieur, that I think I am actually going to faint.

He says, "Don’t worry. Stay calm. Tout sera ok."
And to settle me down, he begins to massage my neck and shoulders. What a relief that is.

But where's that darn button ...and put simply, it seems monsieur is having more luck finding MY "emergency" buttons (and I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a Jacquie Collins novel).

He then starts to loosen my clothing as I'm beginning to hyperventilate. And then he loosens HIS clothing! And it's all getting a bit too tres magnifique (and 50 shades of elevator!)
And I’m vaguely thinking,  what if the lift doors open? ...and my trusty case manager sees us!
However, within half a minute his healing French hands are caressing my entire body.

We fall against each other. Oh ooh la la I think to myself.  

Despite being stuck in a lift, life is suddenly good.
Finally, mad menopausal dame of a certain age, gets lucky!

And in his delectable French tones, monsieur says, "It’s been so long. C'est très bien to see you ...too long!  (which I thought was ironic since we were like caged hamsters -  in a lift not much bigger than a metre square, in pitch darkness. And thus the blind leading the blind....so to speak. However, this was actually a bonus really ....for a post modern jobless dame of a certain age!)
I say, "Oh monsieur!...this was never in your modules!"

Monsieur says,  "Oui oui ...and le modules were a load of garbage anyway. But forget about le modules ..."

I say, "But your baguettes ....I always loved your baguettes.   Such fine baguettes."

"Always fresh. Such a nice added touch to your tuition."
And I’m thinking, we’re FINALLY having that une à une ....
And who cares about that trashie TV bachie, when  I can have this divine elevator “intervention” – to remove my "employment" barriers in an instant - French style.
After five stupendous minutes, our rhythmic unison of thundering, all-encompassing, passionate bliss ends in a scintillating, grounding climax.

And all my "employment barriers" have drifted away.

And I say,  "But monsieur what took you so long?"


Hello, is it me you're looking for [Mutual Obligations ep 22]



Black & white image: via flickr 


  1. sacré bleu, what a way to address your employment barriers. Can't say I've had any such luck, but then most of my case managers and other such workers are well not the type I'd want to get stuck in a lift with. If I did there'd be strange howls and scratching coming from inside the lift. That'd be me, tryin to get out.

  2. Indeed, that's when a can of capsicum spray would come in handy (and I believe a can of oven cleaner does the same trick) ...but then you might knock yourself out as well!

  3. I'll have the elevator you're having. Brilliant stuff, Carmen. It made me laugh out loud and anything that makes me laugh out loud when I'm alone has to be funny. Hilarious.