I hate elevators! Like many office workers who work in high rise buildings, I face a daily ride in the tiny little box at least twice a day and maybe more. What is an about elevator that makes knees turn to Jell-O? Elevators are so tiny and confining. People are uncomfortable to start with because the close proximity to other people violates our personal space. Usually people face frontward and avoid eye contact. Fear of height is said to be instinctive, so that is probably a large part of it. Something about knowing your life is dangling on a thread, even though it is a cable supposedly safe and tested for weight tolerance and such. Those things do have safety devices built in – don’t they? They could not really fall al-l-l-l-l-l the way down – could they?
I’ve ridden in the elevators at the Sears Tower in Chicago that whiz up 100 floors to the top so fast it makes your ears pop. And I LOVE roller coasters, which are surely more dangerous than elevators. So why be apprehensive about a silly elevator? But roller coasters are suppose to be thrilling – the elevator at the office is not.
I work in a very old building. They have given it a facelift and it has been remodeled, including the elevators. Everything looks like new. But deep inside, I know that the works are the same old ones that have been there for a very long time. If elevators were just a bit more cooperative, perhaps they would not seem quite as user un-friendly. The elevators do act up. Sometimes they stop just a bit too hard, or vibrate, or creak strangely. The people look at each other and someone makes a joke. But everyone seems relieved when the door finally opens. Hasn’t nearly everyone been on an elevator at some time that didn’t seem to act exactly right?
The elevator in the parking garage is really the pits. It is almost a gamble to even get on, but there are a lot of stairs if you don’t. It skips floors, jumps up and down trying to level when it reaches the floor, and you had better jump off fast or the door will nearly knock you down. Complaints to the management result in service calls and temporary improvement – but too many complaints have resulted in the elevator being closed.
You probably are wondering if I have ever been stuck on one? No – not really. Once I was in one that stuck briefly. It was something to do with the door not closing properly. Fortunately, it was not crowded, and by the time we had sounded the alarm and used the emergency phone, it decided to close and go on. I could not believe that people did not jump off at the first floor after the doors opened. I sure did! Most people just stayed on there and rode on to their floors. Boy, when I see an elevator that is acting strangely, I wait for a different one, no matter how big of a hurry I’m in.
There are thrill rides at amusement parks that play on peoples’ fear of elevators. The one at Disney World is called the “Tower of Terror.” It falls 16 floors, I believe. I rode it several times when I was there and it was a lot of fun. But we were sitting down and strapped securely in seats, and it was suppose to fall. Supposedly, the excitement of many of the so-called “thrill rides” is facing your worse fear and surviving.
Elevators seem to be a necessity in the modern world and the high-rise environment that we have created for ourselves. Guess we can say life has its little “ups and downs.” As far as I’m concerned, too many of them are in elevators.