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Friday, March 7, 2014

Going Up; or, I've Looked at Elevators from Both Sides Now...


Hi.  My name is Pearl, and I spend a lot of time in elevators. 

Hi, Pearl.

As you would suspect, this daily vertical winching has been slowly turning me into something of an expert in elevator presence.

So you can imagine how surprising it’s been for me, then, to find that there’s a definite lack of situational application for this information.

I reflect on all of this as I board the elevator, my bags held against me so as to not intrude on the space of others, my thoughtful punching of “Door Close” as the last person presses the button with their floor emblazoned on it.

I reflect on this as I realize that the early-morning smokers have also boarded.

As a person who has never enjoyed a pre-dawn smoke without it having come at the tail end of a long and drunken evening, never needed one before work, I can’t help but wonder if my fellow workers couldn’t have stood in the wind just a little longer, maybe popped an Altoid.

There should be something I can do with the smell, with the mix of filtered tobacco and cold air, something I can connect it to that will shine a light on something else.  Like the day I discovered the meaning of the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” or the realization that “he” didn’t call not because he was busy but because he just didn’t care.

I’m always looking for connections.

But sometimes there aren’t any.

Sometimes something stinks just because that’s what it does. 


Man.  There’s so much more to situational elevator presence than first presents itself.

23 comments:

Shelly said...

Somehow, I always find that time in the elevator with other folks to be awkward. I never know whether to look at people as they board or look down or away, and all those bodies in a small area violates everything I know about personal space. I'll just take the stairs.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Yes, yes, yes. When I head outdoors for my Union Walks, I so look forward to getting outside for some fresh air. I walk outside, take a deep breath and FWOOM! I get a big gulp of cigarette smoke from the smokers standing right outside the door.
Bless their hearts.

jenny_o said...

"Sometimes something stinks just because that’s what it does."

It may not be a connection, but it's a dang good conclusion. Sometimes there's just no Meaning in what happens. It's a life lesson, and it's deep.

Much more of this winter stuff, and you will have figured out the rest of the secrets of the universe!

vanilla said...

Sometimes there is only a disconnect, and the farther we are disconnected from it, the better.

Franklin Bruce Taylor said...

I never realized how bad smokers smell until I quit smoking.

Buttons said...

Yes it stinks I take the stairs :) B

Geo. said...

I miss the familiarity of smells, tweed and tobacco in crowded places. Somehow, it made everywhere more homelike, safer-feeling. Good-smelling morning people are planning some outrage.

Delores said...

Ah the smell of second hand tobacco and ethnic cooking in the morning...tightly packed into your little metal cell...hoping against hope that the rubber band doesn't break. What fun.

Elephant's Child said...

I am always fascinated by the fact that if I am the only one in the lift and it stops I get out - without checking whether it is my floor. Arrogance? Self-centredness? Space cadetship?

Nessa Locke said...

This is my latest elevator drama: Guy gets on at the first floor. stands sideways, fists clenched and stares at the floor. He says, "mmph...Mmph...MMPH!"
I leaned over to him and asked him if he was doing some sort of sociology experiment, and he just grins...
I left him to it and got out on the fourth floor.

River said...

The reek of stale smoke coming from someone's lungs and mouth is revolting. Worse when the smoker's clothes are also permeated throughout with months of smoke.

Diane Tolley said...

I can think of one thing worse . . . standing in that tiny metal box with two brothers who, the evening before, challenged each other to see who could polish off the most bean burritos. Sigh.

Kymbo Whitford said...

Elevators are WAY too small... I do not like standing that close to close personal friends let alone smelly strangers...

Steve said...

Not many elevators here. I guess I'm not missing anything.

Linda O'Connell said...

Talk about invasion of personal space. It's worse than public transportation. I think rank perfume is also a stench that makes me want to cover my nose.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Oh I picked the right one to appear back in the comments box... AFter two weeks of TRYING to get settled in the new (and final) flat, one of the worse things about it???

Yup. Stale smoke. Stale animal too; they kept cats and a dog and clearly not hygiene. None of this was apparent during viewings. The month intervening has brought it on it seems. I have been attacked by a flee. The odour in here is beyond yuck and even opening windows in late winter wateriness and burning the heaviest incense possible is not ridding the place of it. I have spent one week in total misery due the activation of allergies and asthma. Add to that not having internet yet (I come to you courtesy of paid piggy-back ether cheating) and all in all you are now wishing I had stayed away for a while longer...

But it was a connection twixt thee and me, sweetpea. Stink is stink. it should be banned.

other than that, am well. How 'bout you? YAM xx

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

I really don't know elevators at all....:-)

But I do know about morning smoking. Tried so hard to cover that smell because as much as I used to love smoking, I equally despised the smell.

Should Fish More said...

I read that Alfred Hitchcock would do what he called 'elevator conversations', he'd be talking to someone about some project or something, then when they boarded an elevator with other people he'd say something like "and then he stood up and there was blood all over, the knife was sticking out of his stomach..." they they'd get off,he'd resume whatever they had been talking about, leaving a group of people wondering.

bill lisleman said...

At times like this you wish that fast elevator was even faster.
Like your title - a start of good parody

Daisy said...


I don't know of any elevators in town. Guess I'm not missing much! Ex-smokers like me are the most intolerant of stinky smokers!
Daisy's Barbara

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I am one of those people who when she can will get in and shut the doors before anyone else can get into the lift with me why because I like to ride the lift alone

Jocelyn said...

As you consider their reek, keep in mind that the morning smoke is getting their bowels moving--yet another thing that smells like hell but brings them joy.

Daisy said...

I have never cared much for elevators. The phrase, "Too close for comfort" comes to mind. :)