When I’m trapped on a crowded elevator, I remember my bus ride with the chickens.
Linda and I were visiting her brother, Jon, who was in the Peace Corps in Nepal, and were taking a bus from one village to another.
We were foreigners so we were allowed on first. We stood in the back and people piled in after us bringing pigs, goats and crates of chickens. Every cubic inch was taken up by something that breathed. It was sort of a Black Hole of Calcutta with livestock.
I was nose-to-nose with a caged rooster when we finally got underway. After about a hundred yards, smoke came from the engine and the driver/mechanic stopped and began pulling things from under the hood. Then things got a little weird.
No one moved. The door was open and we were stopped for about forty minutes, but no one got off.
Later, I asked Jon why. “They didn’t want to lose their place,” he said.
So now when I’m on a crowded elevator, I think of the bus and smile because I know two things: Here most people are happy to flee the moment the doors open and even when the doors close again I won’t be standing next to a chicken.