Tag Archives: elevators

Going up?

I’m so sick of getting into elevators and having to do everything myself. What happened to elevator people? These buildings expect me to press my own buttons? It’s not cool. It’s not fair. That’s a pretty expensive piece of machinery, and I’m expected to control it all by myself?

No, we really should bring back the elevator operator. It would create so many jobs, and it would eliminate so much elevator corruption, from the ground floor up. How many times do you find yourself running for an elevator, and the doors are open, and there are people going up, and you don’t want to say something out loud, you don’t want to be like, “Wait! Hold the elevator!” you just want the people on the elevator, the people with whom you’re currently making eye contact, to help you out, to stick their hand in front of the closing doors and allow you to board.

But people are often willfully inconsiderate, of you, of your going-ups and your coming-downs. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been in such a situation myself. I’m a really quick guy, and so if I ever find myself in the unlikely scenario where I’m chasing down an elevator with the doors closing, I just kind of kick it into high gear, bust ass and make sure I get my hand in there. It always works.

I don’t know why I’m not scared of the closing doors. It’s like I automatically take for granted that each elevator I find is always going to come equipped with that sensor, something to detect my hand and stop the doors from closing all the way. But what if it was broken? What if it ignored my hand and just closed shut, tight, like a vise, and then it started going up, my hand getting pulled toward the ceiling?

No, that’s too much to think about. I’m cringing already. But it’s like the same with the subway doors. If I’m catching a train and the doors are closing, I’ll do the same hand trick. It’s a little different, because those doors actually will close on your hand. It doesn’t hurt though, there’s some sort of a rubber layer that prevents it from really clamping down too hard. And then there must be some sort of a separate mechanism that detects your hand in the crack, and the doors briefly open up again, allowing you to slip inside.

And then the conductor gets on the loudspeaker and she’s like, “Will you please not hold the doors open? You’re making everybody late!” and then just as the doors are about to close again, somebody else runs up to catch the train and does the same hand trick, and now the conductor is even madder, she’s like, “One more time! Just try and hold those doors open one more time!”

But back on the elevator, I’m running, the people don’t think I’m going to make it, I do, I’m on the elevator, and so now they’re acting all contrite, or it’s really uncomfortable and so they’re not really acting like anything, they just have their heads down. As a punishment I press every single button on the elevator. You try to make me wait? I’m going to make sure you have to wait. Obviously this only works if everybody else is going to a higher floor than me. If I’m going to nine, and everybody else is getting off at three, yeah, I’ll still press two, just to kind of piss everybody off a little, but it lacks that bite, that having to stop at two, three, four, five, all the way to fifteen. And so if this is the case, I just hold down the emergency bell button. It doesn’t do anything, like no emergency crews ever respond. But it’s loud. And go ahead and try to tell me to stop. You really want to start something after trying to keep me out this elevator?

No, all of this is childish, completely unnecessary, including me, including my behavior. Which is why we need an elevator guy. He’d see me coming, we’d make eye contact, he’d kind of nod and he’d hold the door open. “Thanks Jerry,” I’d say upon entering, obviously I’d be on a first name basis with him, he on a Mr. then last name basis with me. And even if it weren’t my regular elevator guy, I’d say something informal, a “Thanks boss,” something.

Let’s do it. I’ll get the ball rolling. I’ll be the elevator guy. Think of all the power. I’d see how badly people would want me to not hold the door for stragglers, they’d kind of look at me, silently urging me to just close the doors, to make a second trip, and so I’d see that, and I’d turn the tables. I’d ask that person to leave, make that person wait for a second trip. They’d be like, “Who the hell do you think you are?” and I’d respond, “I’m the elevator guy. You want to go up? Huh? Well I hope you brought a comfortable pair of sneakers,” and then I’d point to the stairs.

My friend is friends with Keanu Reeves

I’m so pissed off. One of my friends moved into a new apartment building a couple of months ago. “You’ll never guess who lives in the building with me!” he started telling me. He was way too excited, way too happy. I could just tell by the look on his face that I’d wind up resenting whatever words came out of his mouth. “Keanu Reeves!” Yup.

I tried to at least not look pissed off, but I probably didn’t do too good of a job. At least I didn’t go right ahead and tell him exactly what I was thinking, which was, so what? You live in the same building as Keanu Reeves? Big deal. Seriously, how is that at all news, at all something to be even remotely happy about let alone gushing with excitement? I live with tons of other people. I don’t even know anybody’s name.

What, do you think all of the sudden because you happen to live in close proximity to a celebrity that you two are going to somehow hit it off? Be friends? “Maybe he’ll knock on my door someday to borrow a cup of sugar!” my friend offered. Please, nobody borrows sugar. That’s ridiculous. If ever found myself in the position where I was in the middle of cooking or baking something, and I realized that not only did I not have any sugar, but I needed a whole cup, like a whole package of sugar, I’d either run to a store and buy some, or more likely, I’d just give up the whole project right there and throw everything away. Because obviously I hadn’t thought this through. Obviously I got way too impulsive about baking, about just throwing a bunch of ingredients in a bowl without even bothering to stop and think to myself, wait a second, do I have any sugar? Do I know how to bake? I tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to start knocking on a bunch of random neighbor’s doors asking them for free groceries. If somebody ever came to my house with an empty measuring cup in hand, I’d take the measuring cup, tell them to wait there one second, and then I’d go inside the house and lock the door. I wouldn’t answer for the rest of the day.

But that’s not what I’m pissed off about. I mean, yeah, I guess I got a little pissed off there, but what I’m really pissed off about is the fact that he did it, my friend, he’s actually like friends with Keanu now. I don’t know how it happened. Well, I know the details of the how, but I just can’t figure out why. They were in the elevator or something and my friend couldn’t help himself. “Oh my God! I loved you in The Replacements!” or something like that. If I were a celebrity, I’d be so annoyed. But not Keanu. They hit it off.

They did like a karaoke night thing at his place the other night. And guess who wasn’t invited? “Oh, you know how it is,” my friend tried to tell me, “I don’t want to impose.” Yeah, he didn’t want to impose at the party, but he had no problem imposing on Keanu’s elevator ride. Isn’t that like an invasion of personal space or something? And it didn’t work for me. I spent like an entire afternoon riding up and down in that same elevator, hoping I’d get my own celebrity run-in.

And I did, I got it, Keanu finally showed up. But it wasn’t just Keanu and me, there was also some old lady in the elevator with us. She had already been up and down like five times that day. I know because I was there every time. On her fourth trip, she must have assumed that I was like an elevator boy, because she just walked in and said, “Twelve, please,” and I was like, “Excuse me, I’m not an elevator boy, you can’t tell me what to do,” and she said, “Elevator boy? Could please just push the twelve button for me? So I did, but only after I pushed two through eleven first.

Anyway, she gives me this dirty look when she walks in, but completely forgets about me once she realizes that she’s sharing my elevator ride with Keanu. “Oh my God!” she starts gushing, “I just loved that movie that you were in with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson! You know, the one where Diane Keaton flashes the camera? What a great movie!” and Keanu was like, “Hey, thanks a lot. See you around.” And the next thing I knew it was Keanu’s floor, and he was getting ready to get off, and I hadn’t even gotten to say anything to him, like anything at all, and I really wanted to go to that karaoke party.

So as he stepped out of the elevator I kind of shouted, “Wait! Keanu! I loved Bill and Ted! Wait, I mean The Matrix! I loved The Matrix!” and as the elevator door closed, he said something to me like, “Man, those movies came out a long time ago buddy.” And that was it. I banged on the door really hard and screamed, “I love karaoke!” hoping that he heard me through the metal. I think he did, but still, he had no idea who I was or how we might get in contact with one another.

Which was such a shame, because if that stupid lady wasn’t there, I had such a good plan. I had this newspaper with me opened up to a crossword puzzle, and when Keanu stepped into the elevator, I was going to be staring at the paper, like totally not even paying attention to Keanu at all, like it could have been just anybody that walked in. And I would’ve said without looking up, “Hey man, do you know a seven-letter word for ‘empty orchestra’ Japanese origin?” And he would have said, “karaoke,” and I would have made a little show of counting out the letters, looking a little puzzled but then finally relieved when I figured out that it fit. And I’d look up and say, “Hey, thanks a lot.” And he’d say, “Sure, no problem. It’s funny you mention karaoke. I’m having a karaoke party at my place tomorrow night. You live here, right?” And I’d say, “Yeah, sure,” and then I’d stick out my hand and say, “Rob. And you are?” “Oh, I’m sorry,” he’d put down his groceries or whatever, offering me his hand, “Keanu. Keanu Reeves.” And I’d just act all casual, like I’d never heard of him before, and I’d say, “Great. Sounds great. Maybe I’ll stop by. Nice meeting you Keanu.”

But that didn’t happen. And after I finished banging on the doors I turned around and that lady was still standing there with me in the elevator staring at me. And I just looked at her for a second and then screamed, “What?”

Stuck in the elevator with five guys and one pizza

Last week I got stuck in an elevator with five other people. Luckily, one of them happened to be a pizza delivery guy and, you guessed it, he still had his pizza that he was supposed to be delivering after he got off the elevator. I immediately told the group that this pizza represented our only chance at survival if this elevator remained trapped for an extended period of time. The pizza delivery guy tried to brush me off, “Let’s just hold on for a second,” while somebody else tried pressing some of those emergency buttons on the wall.

The buttons didn’t do anything. I’ve always had the suspicion that most elevators just have a bunch of fake buttons to keep people from freaking out. It’s the same thing with those rounded mirrors in the top corners. You think there are any cameras behind there? There aren’t. The only reasonable explanation for those mirrors is so you can check everyone else riding in the elevator at the same time as you. And for real, that’s not a serious explanation. It’s just a trick, just like the fake buttons.

One of the buttons worked, the one that rang that alarm bell. But it was a real bell, and it was definitely attached to the elevator that we were stuck in, so I told the guy to stop pressing it, because it was super annoying. He protested, arguing that somebody outside would hear the ringing and call for help.

“Call who? Who are they going to call?” I was getting impatient. “You’re just like one of those idiots who starts blaring their horn in bumper to bumper traffic. There’s absolutely nothing to be done about the situation except annoy everyone else with a really loud noise. Sounds like a great plan. Now can we please get back to this pizza while it’s still hot?”

I saw the pizza guy pull in his box a little tighter. What kind of a pizza place sends out its pies without one of those thermal bags? It must be that place right down the corner. Which led me to another question. Who the hell would order delivery from one block away? That’s just really lazy. Come on, take a five minute break, stretch your legs. You’ll save money on the tip. No, whoever took the time to make an actual phone call to a pizza place right downstairs, asking them if they’d send up an employee to deliver their pizza, they probably wouldn’t be worrying about a tip anyway.

But that was beside the point. It’s actually a good thing that someone was lazy enough to call, because otherwise I wouldn’t be in here with this pizza. But then again, if that person had just gone downstairs, maybe I’d have had to wait for an additional elevator, because I’m a gentleman and I always insist on holding the doors open for everyone else, and then I wouldn’t be stuck, someone else would. I’d be stuck upstairs for a few minutes, waiting for an elevator that wouldn’t be coming, but I wouldn’t be literally trapped, like I was right then, I would have given up eventually and taken the stairs.

But no thermal bag? That’s a shame. We could have all waited half an hour, forty five minutes, tops, before we had to address the food situation. “Just back off, all right buddy?” the pizza guy warned me. Please, don’t warn me. What’s a warning going to do in a situation with six people stuck in a tiny elevator?

“Here’s how it’s going to go,” I announced. “We each get one slice, while it’s hot. It’s the only fair way.”

Because who likes to eat cold pizza? I do. I actually like cold pizza. I don’t prefer it over hot pizza, but it’s still good. I don’t like my pizza to be piping hot, but just you know, five, five to seven minutes out of the oven. But room temperature pizza is great too. I’ll even eat it cold out of the fridge. I’ll even eat a frozen pizza out of the freezer. I’ve never done it, but I could. I could just let it thaw until it was room temperature. Or I could just chomp on it still frozen, just biting and swallowing.

That wouldn’t be ideal, but I could make it happen in an emergency. And that’s what this was, an emergency. I was pressing the pizza issue under the guise of its temperature, but I was really just trying to force everyone’s hand, make a move, right now, for the first round of pizza. I’d make it out to be like we’d divide it, evenly, and that everybody would get to either eat their slice right away, or save it for later. I was counting on the fact that most people weren’t currently dying for a slice of pizza. Hell, I wasn’t even that hungry. I just ate like five tacos.

But I’d eat my slice right away, thereby starting at an advantage of an even fuller stomach than everyone else. If we were really stuck in there for a while, everyone else would probably wisely save their slice for when they got really hungry. And in that situation, I’d think about the two extra slices in that box. Because there are only six of us, but eight slices of pizza, seven if you discount the slice that I was planning on having eaten immediately.

Then when everybody else finally broke down and went for their rations, I’d protest, “Come on! There are two perfectly good slices right there. I deserve one. I finished my slice yesterday. I didn’t think we’d be in here this long. You can’t all just eat pizza while I’m starving. I’ll go crazy. I won’t allow it!”

And people would tell me stuff like, “Well, you shouldn’t have eaten your slice right away. In fact, you were the one who told us we should eat our slices when we wanted to.” And that would just drive me into a rage. I’d start the craziest confined quarter temper tantrum until somebody said something like, “Fine, just give it to him. Jesus.” And that way I’d get two slices.

But eventually there’d be the issue of that last slice of pizza. I thought, I’ll probably have to wait to make a move, but I could press it a little faster if I could insist that we didn’t have too much time before it spoiled. In which case I’d insist on a lottery for the last slice. It would be silly to try and divide the last piece. First of all, nobody had a knife. It would be a mess. Secondly, there’s no way one sixth of a slice of pizza is going to satisfy anybody’s hunger. Better to give it away to one person.

Of course I’d rig the results. But everyone would be so famished, delusional with hunger, that they wouldn’t be paying attention to me fixing the contest. Only I would have my wits about me, because I’d have two slices of pizza digesting in my stomach, buying me just enough time to outwit everyone else. I’d win, I’d grab the slice, and then I’d have eaten three slices. That’s how you do it. That’s called making the best of a bad situation.

But actually, that plan wasn’t really the best. There was a whole pie there that I could have had all to myself. I immediately shifted my plan, which was tough, because I had already made such a big deal about us being stuck in there for potentially forever. But now I was all like, “You know what? I’m actually pretty sure I hear people working on the elevator. We should be out of here in twenty minutes, tops.” It only takes me twenty minutes to eat a whole pizza. Ask anybody. “So, wait a second,” I continued, “I actually ordered a pizza. I think that’s for me. Going up, right? Yeah, totally my pizza. So why don’t we just settle up right now, if you don’t mind, this is my lunch break, and I’m afraid my bosses won’t let me take an extra lunch break, because I always pull the broken elevator routine and, well, you guys know how it is, right? Here you go.”

The guy protested, but I was way more aggressive. I shoved a twenty in his face and grabbed the box. As I got into my third slice, I thought, this is awesome. I’m like a king here. I’ll out-survive everybody else in this elevator. But then the doors cracked open. It was two guys with some crowbars.

“Jesus!” the one guy said, “Why didn’t anybody press the alarm button? You know that’s the only way people know to call for a crew, right?”

And everybody filed out and I was stuck with a totally not so hot pizza that I paid for. My next trick was going to be getting my twenty bucks back after I had eaten the pizza, but I guess that wasn’t going to happen. And then I went up to work, I felt so sick from eating the whole pie, and my boss was like, “Rob! What the hell? You can’t just disappear for half an hour at a time! And to think I ordered you a pizza for doing such a great job. Good thing that idiot delivery boy didn’t even show up. I called up the pizza shop and apparently nobody in your generation knows how to work, because he took the day off also. I hope they fired that good for nothing piece of …”

And I just had to sit there and take it, because I had already pulled the stuck in the elevator excuse last week. That’s an excuse you can’t roll out too frequently, because the first time, the boss just thinks, that sucks, but the second time, in a week, he starts complaining to the super, “What’s with the elevator breaking down twice this week?” and the super looks at him and goes, “Twice?”