E is for Elevators

Is it just me, or are elevators the breeding grounds of awkward moments? Every time I step into an elevator, I find myself wishing, hoping, praying that one of my fellow lazy sods decided that today was their first step toward fitness and they took the stairs. When the elevator stops before my desired floor, I have to stand there awkwardly smiling as the person who, unknowingly, ruined my elevator ride steps inside the small box hanging precariously on a steel cable.

Then you have the elevator music—the tinny little jingle that, somehow, makes the entire ride, whether accompanied or alone, even more awkward. Though it is, ultimately, supposed to be an icebreaker—something to break the crushing silence between strangers standing in unusual and uncomfortable proximity to one another—it does the complete opposite.

Also, why are the insides of elevators made of reflective materials? What makes manufacturers think that we want to know what we look like in our most awkward moments? What is the point of this type of design? Unless they designed elevators for people to take that sneaky mirror selfie (whilst in transit) or so that they can have their last minute makeup touch up before attending that last minute booty call against all better judgement, I do not see the point in having a reflective interior. Mostly, you just stand there wishing you weren’t stuck staring at yourself standing there doing nothing.

You know how, when you were a kid, you would go to the beach or seaside and stand in the shallows jumping over each small wave that washed into shore? Those waves seemed so big when, in reality, they were only a layer of water a couple of centimetres deep. After one of these days, you lay in bed just waiting for sleep to take over and the motion of the swelling water remains with you—it must be some inner ear thing. Well … that is the type of sensation that I get when I have been in an elevator—both while in it and when I try to go to sleep that night. Am I the only one that experiences this? It feels like I am stuck inside an elevator, going up and down from ground floor to top floor and back to ground again. The feeling is disorientating … and quite unpleasant. My stomach drops each time the invisible elevator goes down—like going too fast down a steep hill in a car.

I suppose I don’t really have anything good to say about elevators, except for the fact that they get you to different floors of a building in less time than taking the stairs. That is such a plus because, well, I am lazy. Despite the convienience of elevators, I sometimes think that the awkwardness that they provide our lives far outweighs any positives that they may provide. If I could find the stairs, in some places, I would—just to avoid those situations. But, I suppose, any invasion of personal space or forced smiling is only a couple of minutes before your travel buddy is, quite possibly, out of your life forever.

 

Partners in Travel.

It’s time. It’s time to fill the day with exploration and discovery—time to spend more money than I have because, that is what “holiday” is all about. Room key, wallet, sunglasses, map—the supplies for a full day.

The button, with glowing down arrow, glares at me as I stand waiting for the ping which tells me of the arrival of my silver carriage. But this is no Cinderella story with a journey to the ball.

The elevator doors slide open. It’s empty. As I step inside, I try to find a part of the interior that I can look at that won’t show me an image of myself. It looks like that part will have to be the floor. With the number of my destination floor now aglow, my hands in my pockets and my eyes glued to the floor, the box begins to descend to Ground Floor.

Before my destination is reached, I am told that we have reached floor four and the doors open to reveal a young woman in business attire. I force a smile for her—apparently acknowledgement of accompaniment is imperative in such situations. The doors close once more, and it is hard to ignore her presence despite the fact that I am not looking at her. Do I say something, like “Morning! Off to work? Nice day out”? No. No, no, no.

A little jingle plays above our heads, intensifying the No Word policy that we have somehow created between us. It’s playing some cross between Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Celebration’ by Kool & the Gang—catchy as hell.

As the doors open on the Ground Floor, I silently thank my travel partner for being so … uncommunicative. She steps out with such purpose and I must only follow in her wake. Once she is gone, I slip out onto the street and slide on my sunglasses. I wonder whether she shall be my travel partner on the return trip—that businesswoman from floor four.

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