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Going Up? Well, Let's Wait and See!
It has been a while since I used elevators on a daily basis, but the routine hasn’t changed, according to what I experienced in a downtown office building the other day.
I walked in and pressed the “Up” button, “up” being the appropriate direction for my destination on the fifth floor. The elevator, one of those older, slightly creaky models, was all the way at the top.
After a wait of ... oh, I’d say no more than half and hour, the elevator began descending from the eighth floor. It stopped on the seventh. Also the sixth. And, come to think of it, the fifth, fourth, third, and second. Each stop took about five minutes – just enough time, you know, to take on water and coal, to load and unload some cargo, and to move the passengers on around.
Now, as this was going on, I was joined in the lobby by several people who also wished to travel elevatoriffically in an upwardly direction. They and saw the “up” light on the panel glowing merrily, indicating that the elevator had been called (and, apparently, would get there when it was good and ready). So what did they do?
They pushed the “up” button. Every last one of them.
This is a form of conversation. And the message is:
“Excuse me, bud, but obviously you don’t know how to call an elevator. Here, let me show you.”
“Didn’t you know? The more times you push the button, the faster the elevator gets here.” (This is one is most often demonstrated by someone stepping forward and punching the button rapidly and repeatedly, like he was telling the elevator to hurry up ... in Morse code.)
“I BEG your pardon, but you obviously don’t know how important I am. In fact, this is MY elevator and the rest of you are using it at my sufferance. And why wasn’t it here with the doors open when I came through the door?”
Like I said, it’s conversation. And it’s usually the last conversation of the ride. There is nothing so quiet as an elevator full of strangers. Unless, of course, one of those strangers is me.
On crowded elevators, I like to greet my fellow passengers with a hearty “Are we over the load limit?” If I’m in there with a woman, I mind my manners by tipping my hat and saying, “Howdy, Toots!” If I’m in there with just a few people, I like to point out “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” no matter what the weather. And if it’s a couple of business-type males, I’ll usually ask, “Which one of you had the fried onions?”
I find this gives me plenty of breathing room for the remainder of the ride.
I’ve always found the elevator experience to be semi-hilarious. Outside, we can be walking, talking, fully functional human beings, but once we get in there, we’re mannequins, saying nothing, staring straight ahead. How weird. Why do we do that? What are we afraid of?
Oh, I know. That someone like me might just burst into a chorus of “The Japanese Sandman” or something equally annoying.
Well, don’t worry. I may be a goof but I do have some standards, thank you.
I only do that when the elevator is going down.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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