austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Everybody goes up and everybody comes down

I don't want it to sound like I spend most of my time thinking of elevators. I think of them often but only briefly, since Singapore is a vertical city and it's hard to go far without riding one. This probably is why Singaporeans eagerly hit a ``close door'' button instead of letting doors close on their own, which might save a whole four seconds on a trip. Multiplied by, say, six trips a day, over the course of the year, and some years have mighty involved courses, that saves two hours and 26 minutes, or about as much time as you save by not watching a Michael Bay movie, which is clearly wise.

But the past week elevator anecdotes have been all over the place. In my building's lobby, I hit ``up'' to find one elevator was stuck on level 2: it had the ``going down'' light, but was clearly not going down by any process other than compression of the soil under the building. There was another elevator waiting on 6, but since the first elevator was apparently ``taking'' the call, I suppose, it wouldn't go.

At a Slow Elevator outside the science library, I got on at the fourth floor (the entrance), and hit down. The Windows-controlled monitor showing the floor number and spinning arrow blinked a moment, then changed the displayed number from 4 to B (the ground floor), and, apparently, decided it was on the ground floor, and left the door closed. Eventually somebody on 6 pressed, and the elevator started going up, spinning the arrow and showing floor numbers 1, then 2. The elevator stopped, and the screen reset and showed 6. I'm amused when a computer can't handle a simple task, but, really.

Over at my office's building, one of the (three) sets of buttons -- the horizontal one, intended for wheelchair access -- in the cab had lost the floor 2 button. Someone put masking tape over the hole and wrote ``SPOIL''. Later in the day, someone punched through the tape, spoiling it per instruction, which showed off the jumbled wires and empty space within. And in the other science library elevator (they're adjacent, but calls to one do not summon the other, part of what makes them so slow), drywall covers all the interiors so the workers doing renovations on level 3 can wheel things in or out without scraping anything permanent. For us mere civilians, someone put up a poster, ``Construction Work In Process: We Are Renovating To Serve You Better. Please Bear With Us.'' By yesterday someone had crossed out ``bear'' and wrote ``bare'' in. By today, that was crossed out again, with ``bear'' written back in. I'm interested in tomorrow.

Trivia: Philadelphia had in 1857 more than 260 factories making cotton and wool goods. Source: Boardwalk Empire, Nelson Johnson.

Currently Reading: The Benchley Roundup, Robert Benchley (Edited by Nathaniel Benchley). It's kind of a comfort read.


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