Elevator Rides: Can We Learn Something from It?
Have you ever realized the significant purposes of an elevator?
When we are employed by a huge company in an urban setting, we usually operate in a tower with more or less a hundred floors. It would be very strenuous to climb the stairs up when your office is located on the 70th floor. I can’t even imagine myself going up to the 10th floor by the stairs. Thank the geniuses for inventing the elevator that makes our lives easier. But I wonder if you have seen its value. In this article, I will take you to my elevator-related experiences and musings and see if you could find something of importance.
Even in its restricted dimension, the elevator serves a very remarkable purpose—connecting people from almost all walks of life. Like a coffee table, it offers even a little space for other different purposes. It can be a barren room for a nonchalant tête-à-tête. It can be an avenue for a simple “hi, hello”. It can be a wall for a little nap. It can be an opportunity for new acquaintances. It can be an antechamber of business opportunities. Or, it can also be a short-lived confine for sweet lovers. Those are only few and there are actually more.
What really happens inside the elevator?
I am not going to talk about the endless list of its purposes. Years ago, I had this idiotic desire to write about this familiar thing that I deal with almost every working day of my life in the city. No, it’s not about the thing exactly, but the things or happenings I see in and out of this thing. I don’t know if I make sense here, but it’s just about my little observations—I won’t call it criticism because I only want to share what I saw and what I felt about it. Well, after my department (in a company I used to work) transferred from the sixth floor to the seventh level of the tower, I rarely took the stairway in going up to the office. Instead, I would take the comfort of Mr. Elevator. And in the many days of benefiting this invention, I had seen many things inside this magical compartment.
The beautiful, elevating mornings
Usually in the morning, I could find head-turning immaculate looks, reassuring fresh breaths and sweet-smelling perfumes. Calm but spirited conversations and adorable smiles commingled in a ride that was so intimate — elbow to elbow, arm to arm or, sometimes, cheek to cheek. I loved this time of the day because everything was spanking new and everyone was beautiful and genial. I didn’t have to care if the compartment was overcrowded; everyone’s confidence of his or her own way and style was at a surprising level, which was also a little contagious.
Hello there, midday-vator
By midday, there were few changes inside the elevator. There were those already leaving the edifice—most of them were night or swing shifters. At this time, I could find somnolent faces and visibly weary expressions, unsettling acerbic breaths and a fetid smell of sweat, craggy clothes and some not-so-important work-related conversations. Most of them wore eyeshadow to conceal the dark pigment around their eyes and their heavy eye bags. Those who were taking their lunch breaks were excited, in a dash and in groups. And when they went back, they smelled like grilled pork, barbecue, fried chicken, fish stew, mongo soup, pinakbet (a very popular vegetable dish in the Philippines) and other popular Filipino dishes which blunged with the scent of the sun’s heat.
What about the “after work” ride?
It’s quite funny that by the end of the day, most ladies had freshened up and were ready to get going. Well, you can’t expect the guys to be as conscious as the ladies when it comes to appearance, but some would wash their faces though, brush their teeth or gargle a mouthwash, and try to look good. Some also changed their clothes to sporty outfits for the gym or jogging routine. This time, I could see mixed faces from excited to tired, bare to frantic, relieved to frazzled, and the others, indefinable.
What I learned from that everyday elevator trip?
Elevator ride is interesting. For me, it is essential because there are a lot of things you can learn and find in there. Personally, it has given me an opportunity to understand the diversity of human existence, the uniqueness of each individual, the value of time, the unpredictability of a moment, and the reality of my presence. I saw them, I became aware of those episodes and that only means I was part of it. Every time I stood there on the foyer waiting for my ride, I anticipated meeting a friend, seeing something new and learning incredible things. Every ‘ding’ means a different thing to me—a hiatus that determines if it could be life, death or change.