In this, the inaugural “Cranky New York Minute”, I will enlighten my non-New Yorker City readers on the suckiness of living day to day, every day, every single m.f.-ing day of your life, as a slave to elevators…..
Fun With Elevator Buttons
In NYC, the absolute limits on space elevate the seemingly mundane act of “waiting” into a sport, often a contact sport. There is ample opportunity to practice waiting skills here because in point of fact, people are always waiting: waiting for the subway, waiting for a taxicab, waiting to get into clubs, waiting for a table at a neighborhood restaurant, waiting for a seat on the bus, waiting for a space to put down their mat at the yoga studio, waiting for a treadmill at the gym, and on and on and on.
But nothing that I can think of inspires the ire and irrationality of seasoned wait-ers like waiting for an elevator. I’ve learned not to feel irritated when standing in front of a lit elevator button and someone comes over and presses it again, as if to “remind” the elevator that it’s being called, or worse, to press it “better” (more effectively?) than I did. I’ve learned to accept that some people will pretend to hold the “DOOR OPEN” button, while actually pressing “DOOR CLOSE”. I’ve come to terms with people taking the elevator to the second floor of my building, as is their right.
However, the final frontier – the proverbial Eighth Series – of Elevator Waiting is when your building’s elevators are being repaired or refurbished such that only one, lone elevator is doing the entire work of what had been two or three.
When your building is left with only one elevator to serve a small community of people who do a lot of coming up and going down, and who don’t like to use the stairs when doing so, and who are used to the luxurious convenience of two or even three elevators gliding up and down the building at the touch of a button, you’re going to have to marshall up all of your patience and your tolerance. When that one, lone, elevator door opens on your floor, and you see the woman holding a laundry basket filled with fresh and folded clothes (she is obviously coming from the basement) and the man holding his briefcase with his tie loosened away from his neck (he’s certainly not heading TO the office), you will have to accept that that the one, lone elevator is heading upwards, when you wanted to go down. You’ll have to accept that no other elevator will be coming. It’s only this one, and you’ll just have to wait for it to come back down, however long it takes. It’s a moment where you can truly savor the way you handle the feel of dismay.
But the dismay of your lone elevator heading UP when you wanted DOWN, or vice versa, is nothing compared to my personal irritation at the people who push the UP and the DOWN elevator buttons in a futile, and I repeat with emphasis, UTTERLY FUTILE attempt to make the elevator come faster. Rather than make the elevator come faster, what this has the effect of doing is to cause the elevator to stop on each and every floor where some clown has gone and pressed BOTH the UP and the DOWN buttons. Stopping on multiple floors where no one gets on and no one gets off would tend to slow down an already over-burdened lone elevator, dontcha think?
To wit, on your way UP in the elevator, you are forced to stop two or three times on the way to your floor, each time, looking out at some clown who is waiting for a DOWN elevator. Your eyes attempt to bore a hole through his numb skull, but he refuses to make eye contact, instead, looking sheepishly down at his shoes, knowing that you’re onto him, knowing the utter uselessness of his attempt at elevator manipulation, but knowing full well that he will do it again tomorrow.
And tomorrow…until the refurbishing/repair project is over, and you have all of your elevators back in service.
Aye, it is something worth waiting for, that.