Saturday, March 25, 2006

riding the elevator

Lift, elevator, call it by any name, is a weird place. We probably spend more time in one of these, now a days. Well, i use one every day at work, like million others in the world. And have used one since i was about 10 or so years old, but every time i get in one, i am quite anxious to get off. It no paranoia or anything, just a some uneasy feeling.

The elevator travel can be broken into two parts, the wait and the actual ride itself.

The Wait
The wait, well i think there is a reason, i used this term, because its just that, wait. It starts with pressing the elevator call button. Now there are two types of buttons. The ones that light up, indicating the request has been accepted, and the other kind that tests your faith in these buttons. Well to me, there are subtle differences, and doesnt count, cause, my brain tells me, if the elevator hasnt come to my floor, press the call button again. Sometimes, the anxiety level is so high that i have to lean on the button real hard, hoping that it helps elevator move faster than the usual crawl speed.
In the event there is more than one or there are multiple elevators in the building, the chances are technically better that you will catch an elevator coming your way. For me this, only increases the level of perspiration, given that you have to divide your attention to the multiple elevator doors available.
If there is company, it reduces the tension a lot, but that is only if you know the people waiting around. If you dont, you are forced to begin a conversation, called 'small talk', which goes nowhere, is not about anything in particular, and the no one actually cares about, and no one pays attention. This however is different from listening in on others conversation, which requires perfect eye-ear coordination. The eyes are focused on a distant nonexistent object, while the ears are perfectly tuned into the conversation and also has the uncanny ability to monitor tones as well. Well.... the elevator eventually does arrive.

The Ride
There are button inside the elevator too. And the utility of these buttons are no different from the ones referred to earlier, at least to me. There is however one favorite button, that indicates the floor where i would like to get off. But the usage of that particular button is done the same way as earlier. Once, initially to indicate the floor of my choice, and then once for each time the elevator stops till it reaches my destination.
The pressure and use of the buttons is indirectly proportional to the speed of the elevator. The slower the elevator, the number of attempts and pressure of each usage is more and higher, whereas if it were travelling fast... the opportunity to use it more often is curtailed by the speedy arrival at the destination. All this activity has no significance on the type of buttons as indicated earlier, that is, whether it is lit or not.
Sharing the elevators with strangers, will drastically reduce the usage of these buttons. But more times, it is because there is someone else that is more dexterous or annoying than you, in the elevator, who has taken control of these operations, and denying you the pleasure that is rightfully yours.
The rules of engaging in conversation are the same. However, all attempts to dissuade oneself from engage in small-talk, usually results in staring at the empty ceiling of the elevator. In a crowded elevator the ceiling provides the most consolation to individuals cramped together

Wierd things
Many times, i have found it difficult to stay quite while travelling in the elevator. And i have experimented with a number of things, and observed a lot of things. Since, i dont have any conclusive findings, i have resisted attempts to get these published in science and technical journals. But i think i can share a few of them here:
- attempts to do push-ups are not that effective, there is little gravity to work against.
- you can simulate zero-g, specially in ones that go up 20+ floors etc
- you can deflect your frustration, without hurting anyone, by pressing all the buttons inside the elevator, just before you get off.
- good place to improve your tap dance skills, even if dont have one, or havent danced before.
- dont look up through the fan in the cieling, small dust particles aim for your eyes like small missiles.

Although there are a few other experiments, i am not ready yet to talk about them today.

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