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Aug 13 2013

Elevator Thoughts

2 votedvote

I have been riding hospital elevators for over 30 years. I didn’t do this for fun or because I possess some type of “vator” fetish. I have worked in hospitals for over 30 years.

I’ve not only ridden internal hospital elevators but also external elevators. In more cases than not these elevators carry people who have parked their automobile, motorcycle, and sometimes bicycle in a large ominous looking structure adjacent to a hospital.. These folks frequently go from one floor to the next with a blank stare trying to find their vehicle. The dysphoria created by the spaciousness and lack of familiarity with the cavernous concrete lots that house the elevators compound the spookiness of the contraptions’ themselves. Now throw in the anxiety that most people have visiting their physician, or loved one who may be infirmed and you have one big “phobia”.

Today I was in one of those lots and found two women wondering around talking to each other pointing as if each auto they were pointing to could be, but wasn’t, their own.

“I think that’s it”

“No it’s a Nissan, but its not the right color”

“How bout that one?”

“Yes…..no that’s not it. It’s a Toyota”

“What floor were we on?”

“I didn’t look when we left the lot and got on the elevator”

“I always do that and then end up feeling so stupid”

After observing this for a moment or two I offered gallant assistance.

“Did you ladies lose your car?”

Blank stares at me and fearful stares at each other.

“What kind of car do you drive. Maybe I can help”

Nothing.

I checked to see if I had any blood oozing from my mouth or anything frothy coming from my jowls I was clean. But given the high crime rate of Wheaton Illinois I must have posed a threat despite the security cameras and uniformed guards patrolling the structure.

Two people emerged from the elevator on the 4th floor of the parking structure. Upon their departure from the “box hanging by cables” they stared blankly once again. Elevators must produce blank stares. I know they do while one is riding one, but that observation for later discussion.

“”What floor did we park on?”

“That was your job. You drove”

“It was your job you were the passenger”

“Maybe if we go down again to the floor we were on when we saw our doctor and start over again it will come to us”

This strategic initiative flabbergasted me! However I do it all the time. If I lose my keys in my home which happens only about 3 to 4 times per day I consistently attempt to retrace my steps trying to figure out where I was when I had my keys last. The strategy rarely works and I always go to the garbage. 40-50% of the time anything I lose ends up in the garbage. I live alone but I swear my invisible roommate throws all the shit I lose into the garbage within 30 minutes of the item being lost!

“Ok what floor was Dr Tony’s office on?”

“I don’t remember!”

“Oh my gosh!”

A nice way to say “We are so fucking stupid!”

Back to elevators. They make you as the Italians would say “Stunata” that is an Italian word that doesn’t quite mean “stupid” It means more like “Goofy” or “A bit touched” or “feeble” It’s sort of how one feels after about two and a half glasses of red wine drank rather quickly on a very empty stomach. “Stunata.” You get that feeling on an elevator. Especially if you are alone or if there is just one other person on the elevator with you.

If that person is talking, you are less stunata. Unless you actually had a few glasses of vino along with the ride. If you have no vino and the person is talking to you a lot or there are many people on the elevator, you are less stunata.

These two passengers were stunata and they stood looking like they had had a few on the 4th floor of the parking structure after disembarking the stunata creating elevator after coming from Dr Tony’s office not knowing what floor his office was located.

“Do you ladies need any help?” I figured I would try again.

I was looked through, not at.

“Any help needed?”

Nothing.

OK get the picture?

Elevators produce the Italian disease called stunatatitus. Very serious. But saves on the cost of wine.

And before we leave the parking structure elevator discussion one more thing.

You are totally fucked if when you exit the structure from the slow moving rhythms of the elevator itself rocking you slowing into an anxious calm you walk out into bright bright bright fucking sunlight!

Totally disconcerting and contributing even more to your lack of equilibrium.

So as a word of advice, friendly caution, and habituated awareness of providing a safe environment for people to exist within: upon disembarking from an elevator into a lot on a sunny day, wear sunglasses. If you don’t, you may never ever find that Nissan or Toyota or Shwinn that you rode up on.

Post script before we move on to internal elevators.

None of this applies if you are looking to steal a vehicle while disembarking an elevator in a parking structure. I did work in west Englewood on Chicago’s south side and the art of ripping off vehicles was a science that some had perfected.

One more post script. Believe me it does apply to elevators. I got off an elevator once at my most recent job (the hospital in West Englewood) and in the lobby of the hospital was a kid wearing a white sleeveless tee shirt and black shorts with a baseball bat over his shoulder riding a bicycle in circles in the lobby with a huge gash in his head spurting blood.

You never know what lurks on the other side of those elevator doors!

OK now for internal elevators.

Touching.

Rule number one try like hell not to touch anybody in the elevator with you. Especially if you are a Republican!

I was in an elevator yesterday in a republican area of a suburb and I notice everyone on the elevator nudging themselves into spaces that were no more than a quarter of an inch apart. Lining up like a pick up sticks game where each player cannot make the stick move or tumble off the one next to it. Let me repeat. Do not touch anyone! And if you do move away, do it in an inconspicuous fashion while making no facial expression whatsoever! NO touching!

Rule number two. Do not breath heavily. You could be perceived as a heavy breathing pervert or your breath may smell. Breath lightly and silently. No heavy breathing.

Rule number three. Clear the phlegm from your throat and nose thoroughly prior to getting on the elevator. Nobody wants to hear hockers and loogies getting tossed from one nostril to the next or chest patties crackling around under your under garments!

Rule number four. Do not look up more than one time after entering the elevator. Yes you and the 40 or 50 people on the elevator crammed in shoulder to shoulder (without touching) are suspended by cables that may be inspected every 6 or 7 years in a dark concrete shaft and yes you are normal to think “What the hell is holding us up? And what if it doesn’t!” But if you look up and get that “I’m feeling uneasy” look on your face, it may spread throughout the car and cause havoc so do not look up more than once! Got it?!

Rule number five. No eating. Especially anything made by a Greek or Indian! The aroma of those two cuisine’s in an enclosed place is overpowering. Crunchy food of any kind is most likely a bad idea except Cheetos not the puffs but the crunchers. Why you may say? Because I fucking love Crunchy Cheetos and feel strongly that people should be able to eat them anywhere they want!

Rule number six. Watch what you drink. Have you noticed, those of you who notice things and who are older than let’s say 20, that Americans are very concerned about dehydration? Shit, everywhere you go people are lugging around fluids to keep them hydrated. I did hear somewhere that this county could be in danger of a serious fluid shortage soon and it is a good idea to hydrate whenever possible. So I guess those who are on elevators and who are hydrating are just practicing what the Surgeon General is advising. But come the fuck on! Have you ever ever ever seen anyone pass out in an elevator from dehydration?

And lifting a bottle of sweet sticky substance or cup of hot scalding liquid to your lips in a crowded elevator without spilling half of it down your and or those around you’s clothes is a skill that only 31½% of the American population has mastered. There are studies of this nature. Believe me. The Swedes and Dutch are more skilled at this set of behaviors and their spill rate is much lower than the American subgroup. So if you must drink liquids in an elevator do so in Sweden or the Netherlands.

Rule number seve. No talking to either a person who you know, a person who you don’t know, or yourself or your little invisible friend who watches over you. People on elevators are fucking serious and they have no time or desire to hear you or anyone else’s bullshit. So keep your fucking mouth shut! That little box you are dangling from in that long dark shaft holds your life in its hands and your jaw flapping will only disrupt that prayers and good vibes people are sending the cable’s way. So keep your mouth shut! Got it?

Rule number eight. Belching. Nothing out loud. Nothing like when you were a kid and you let a great one out. The kind that you did while talking at the same time! Granted it is a great skill to have. But. NO don’t do it. That is for another time and place.

A silent belch is acceptable provided you are aware of two things. (1) what you have recently eaten. Go back to the Greek and Indian food notation. If you have eaten either of those two foods do not belch even if it is silent. The fumes could catch fire in such a small place or sicken other passengers to the point of vomit. Vomit in elevators should be avoided at all costs. Disaster could strike! (2) No silent belching if you have not totally digested all your food. Get my drift? Little chunks could fly outa your mouth and given the fact that you are in close proximity to people who you don’t know and who you are trying not to touch, bad things could occur subsequent to the small projectiles (could be large) spewing from your mouth. So got it? silent belching is ok provided you haven’t eaten Greek or Indian and you have digested you food well.

Rule number nine. The use of communication devices. Use em. Fuck the people on the elevator. They need to deal with you talking texting tweeting emailing! Fuck em! If they give you any shit, Well tell them to go hell! You hate them! And want the cable to break and kill them but not you! OK?

Rule number ten. You were thinking about it but didn’t want to say? Right? Farting. Flatulence. Gas. Shit just let it rip. It’s your right just like texting, talking tweeting emailing. Most elevator rides are short and the smell of your flatulence will build their and your character! So once again fuck em!

OK here you go the rules of elevator riding. I have studied these rules for over 30 years. I have ridden elevators quite a lot in the last few days and I have noticed blank stares, some people acting like stunatas, that very few people belch or fart on elevators, some eat, many talk text tweet and email, and some even talk. In spite of the fact that the talkers are breaking rule number seven, those are the elevator riders I like the most.

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About the author

paul@amonthof.org

Paul Teodo is the 62 year old father of 2 great sons. Paul and Peter. He is also the partner of Sheryl who kicks his butt and keeps him in shape as she teaches yoga, spinning, pilates, step and lots of other “physical kinds of things” Paul is a retired hospital exec whose last job gave him the privilege of working with a group of over 80 year old nuns who for the most part were all under four foot eleven! He loves telling and listening to stories whether it be at a Chicago story telling event or around the dinner table eating pasta.

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