Elevator to Hell

Maybe I’ve been watching too much 666 Park Avenue, but I’m pretty sure my elevator is a secret portal to another dimension.

After many years of living in walk-up apartments, I finally hit the jackpot last year when my roommates and I found a building with an elevator. One of the best ways to find a good deal in Manhattan is to move to a half-rent-controlled building in an area of town that can easily be called half-Harlem. The amenities are top notch and the view of the Frederick Douglas housing project is the best around!

The only thing that weirds me out about my place is the elevator. I’ve never been a fan of rickety old elevators, but my laziness generally trumps my will to live so I’ll ride in anything that seems mildly safer than a bucket attached to a rope. Our elevator is a tiny metal box with no indicator for which floor it’s on, and a door that seems intent on crushing someone. Unless you know that you have to press a certain part of the door inward, its door will literally not stop closing until it has made contact with the item/person that it’s squashing.

I didn’t really take issue with these minor problems, but in the past year the situation has escalated to the point that I’m convinced my elevator is possessed. It started with the increased frequencies of malfunctions. Our once reliable elevator is out of service frequently, but for no apparent reason. No one ever comes to fix it; instead it simply starts working again after a number of minutes, hours or days. I’m beginning to feel a connection with the thing, as if knows my hopes and fears. The days that I get home thinking, “god I hope I don’t have to walk up the stairs,” it will be mysteriously out of service, but only long enough for me to carry my bike up the six grueling flights. It’s commonplace for one person to arrive at the apartment only 15 minutes after the other and have no idea that the elevator wasn’t working prior to her arrival.

I think it knows how to play with our emotions, pit roommate against roommate. It’s wearing away at our credibility in such a way that I can imagine myself saying some day , “Ugh. Don’t listen to Nina… She doesn’t even know when the elevator is working or not. She said it was working on Tuesday morning and I can tell you it most definitely was NOT. She’s been a little off lately…”

When it’s not broken, it’s hard at work playing elevator mind games with us. There’s this one thing it does that convinces me it’s waiting until the right moment to murder me. In between the 3rd and 4th floor, the elevator will open up very dramatically, showing us the safety door and cement between the two floors. I’m pretty sure one day it’s going to beckon me into elevator hell.

If you’ve never thought about what elevator hell is like, allow me to terrify you. It’s not a place of fire and brimstone. It’s a place where you stand forever, in a endless circle of waiting for your elevator to come, open, arrive on your floor, only for the doors to open and you to realize that you’re in yet another lobby waiting on another elevator.

Elevator hell isn’t filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth or mean dudes like Hitler… It’s much worse. It’s got that overly talkative doorman in your office building who asks every single flower delivery person, “Oh! For me?! You shouldn’t have!” and a bunch of people from the other office floors that you know because you see them everyday but you never talk to. In elevator hell, you can never manage to catch an even slightly empty elevator and there’s always that one person who insists on stopping on the second floor.

Elevator hell looks like that MC Escher painting with elevators instead of stairs.

Because there’s no chance that I’m going to start taking the stairs, I’ve decided to proactively atone for my sins. I’ve created a few elevator commandments that I will now start following so that I don’t land myself smack dab in the middle of Dante’s Infernovator.

Thou shalt not wear so much perfume that it kills your fellow elevator riders.

I got to six commandments and then I got bored. Don’t you wish I was god? There’s be less rules because I’m so lazy. Of course, I also wouldn’t have made as much cool shit due to said laziness. The Bible would be all, “One the first day Tiffany made the world, and on the second day Tiffany made DVD sets of TV shows, and on the third day Tiffany rested.”

Anyway, I have nothing else to say except that if you come to my building and you don’t want to risk getting sucked into an alternate dimension that might or might not be that ship in Event Horizon, you should probably not take my elevator. Also, if I ever mysteriously disappear into thin air, you’ll know where I am. Pray for me.

Peace, love and taking the stairs,

Ps- If we ever hang out and there’s a lull in conversation, ask me about the time Nina and I got stuck in an elevator in Greece.

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