Reading this book is like being trapped in an elevator with the neighbors from down the hall, that up until now, you've only seen in passing. At first you make pleasant small talk, crack a few jokes to ease the tension. They seem like nice enough people. You begin to wonder, whatever happened to being neighborly? Why didn't you make their acquaintance earlier? Why did it take being trapped in an elevator to get to know these people?
But as the time wears on, and the doors stay shut, they start to annoy you. Her laugh is no longer light and tinkling - it's girlish and squealing. His smile is no longer awkward and charming - it's downright creepy.
You start to feel badly for judging them so harshly. It's just your nerves, you tell yourself. It's just the anxiety from being trapped. It's just claustrophobia that's making you so easily annoyed. You shouldn't let it get to you. You should give them the benefit of the doubt.
Then they start bickering with each other. At first it's just the tone of her voice, the stiffening of his shoulders. Then they start hurling insults at each other, volleying blame and anger and years of pent-up aggression back and forth. You sit in the corner under the flickering fluorescents and watch as they become more and more animal. Her eyes narrow to slits. He foams at the mouth.
This can't be how they really are, you think. Nobody is this horrible. It's the circumstances. It's the elevator. It's not real.
But another hour goes by. Two. Three. And you actually, actively hate these people. The longer you're trapped with them the more you come to realize that they are the worst people on the planet. You fantasize about them tearing each other limb from limb, spraying each others' blood and viscera against the polished chrome doors. You want them to suffer. Their hatred for each other has spilled out until you feel like you're drowning in it.
Then the rescue crew arrives. The doors finally open, and the three of you rush out with relief. You stop and put your head between your knees, grateful that your ordeal is finally over. You glance up and see the couple. They're talking to a rescuer.
They're holding hands.
She cackles in her girlish squeal, and he leers with his creepy grin, and you puke all over the freshly-vacuumed carpet.