Thursday, April 06, 2006

The 13th Floor Elevators

Since my move to New York, I would estimate that I’ve ridden in somewhere between 50 to 100 elevators. Most of them have been fairly standard. The elevator in my office building, which I take at least three times a day, amounting to about fifteen times per week, has no frills. The more corporate office buildings have elevators that are equipped with television monitors, broadcasting up to the minute CNN updates and weather reports. The first time I saw one of these, I felt like breaking out my yokel accent, exclaiming, “Look, y’all! There’s a telavision set in this here elevatoor!!” But I didn’t.

My most treasured elevator experience thus far occurred in Chelsea, where I had my first encounter with an elevator man. His sole purpose is to guide passengers through the ten story building, making sure that nobody gets off on the wrong floor and is delivered to their destination in tact. Without his assistance, people would probably get trapped in the iron, accordion gate of the elevator, meeting their doom in the form of a gory partition of hands and body. The elevator man had made a little home out of his elevator and it was actually quite cozy. On one side of the lift, hung a poster-sized rendition of Guernica and, for his own pleasure, there was a lawn chair (one of the fancy kinds, with cup holders), a small cooler, to store fresh beverages, and a mini radio/TV combo. He seemed genuinely happy with his job and I was happy that he was happy. I was in this building for an interview and though I didn’t get the job, I think I was less disappointed about my lost job opportunity than the fact that I wouldn’t get to see that elevator man every morning.

Last Friday evening, as I was leaving work, I approached the elevator outside my office at the exact same time as a man who works down the hall from me. He’s attractive, an architect, and this was probably the third time we had ridden down the fifteen stories together. I didn’t think anything of it, until he turned to me, between floors 14 and 13, and said, “So…would you like to hang out sometime outside the elevator?”

I don’t respond well to these kinds of proposals. I mean I know I come across as incredibly charming and amiable, as evidenced in my last post, but when push comes to shove, I am an awkward, awkward creature. “Ha! This is a nice elevator, isn’t it? Very sturdy, dependable.” It’s also a very, very slow elevator. With all of these advances in technology today, why don’t we have faster elevators yet? I’m talking Star Trek teleporter shit, that’s what I want in my office building. I want to be able to step into an elevator and reach my destination in under two seconds and if the elevator flashes neon blue lights and visions of the future in the process, even better.

But what I really want to know is this: Where did all of the elevator music go? What happened to elevator music?? Has it become extinct because everybody owns an iPod and is able to provide a personal soundtrack to uncomfortable elevator rides? Does anybody know? Can any of you provide some sort of explanation? Answers, I need answers!

17 Comments:

Blogger Tigre said...

I don't think i've ever read a blog in such detail about elevators....you must be a genious...or however it's spelleded

3:48 PM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

what are your thoughts on elevator music, stranger?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

It sucks, so they stopped making it. Actually, I think that's considered a "frill" for an elevator in an office building. Employees don't deserve elevator music.

I hate ipods. Don't people buy albums anymore? Oh sorry, wrong conversation.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

i think that elevator music was originally meant to encourage workers on the way to their cubicles. but mary, do you actually remember ever hearing elevator music in an elevator? i don't. i remember hearing it in malls and mcdonalds bathrooms and maybe airports, but not elevators. i'm thinking it might have grown out of fashion before we were even old enough to be in elevators that would have elevator music, ie. office buildings.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Greg E. said...

Whats really scary is if the lighting in the elevator changes between floors. I was in one that did that once and could ascertain whether it was malfunctioning or just following commands. The lights went off, then on, then blinked, then off, etc. Flippy shit. Do you even have a yokel accent? I dont think I've been privileged enough to ever hear it. As usual, nice post.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been in an elevator that didn't have an expired inspection license from the local authorities. Maybe New York is different in this regard?

12:37 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

but don't you think the whole scenario would've been made less scary if it was set to elevator music?

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tobela, you don't have an awkward bone in your bony body.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

well i have a bone to pick with you, bonehead. call me back, i'm sick of playing phone tag!!

10:15 AM  
Blogger adamghory said...

Guys that try to pick up girls in elevators are skeevy. Guys the fart in elevators and can't help laughing hysterically about it are totally awesome. Not that I know anyone who does that ;)

10:45 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

and what about guys who try to act like their cell phones work in underground trains? those guys are cuhrazy!!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

So are you going out with the elevator guy or what?

11:02 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

i will only discuss such matters tonight, with you and emily and three whiskey sours.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

the elevator at my parents office building in san francisco has elevator music. it is a blight on their otherwise pleasant place of business.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

well it's about time! thank you, claire!!

1:17 PM  
Anonymous CharlieBrown said...

Here are a few takes on the future of transport. Heinlein's bounce tubes sound like what you're talking about, but personally I'd like a pair of jet boots.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

JET BOOTS!!! i'm with you on that one.

7:26 PM  

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