Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Elevator Blog.

Exceptionally busy day -- edited a 3,000-word interview and wrote half as many words in the form of two articles that I had foolishly assigned to myself. So I won't add too much to the word total for the day with this.

But I was out of the office for a few minutes. In the afternoon I got on the elevator at the 17th floor to go to the first floor of my building. On the 16th or 15th floor, a middle-aged man, somewhat but not too many years older than I am, got on. He was short, casually dressed and beginning to gray around the edges.

He glanced around a little uncertainly. "I'm glad I don't have to ride the elevator alone," he said. I wasn't expecting a conversation -- it's fairly rare in downtown elevators among strangers, and even if it were more common, that opener is a little off center. I didn't respond immediately.

"I think I like this elevator less and less," he said, as if to ask for my agreement. He looked a bit too nervous for comfort. My comfort, that is.

"It's better than most," I said. I was sincere. The Civic Opera Building elevators have handsome brass-plated doors, fine wood paneling, and generally don't make you wait too long.

"Yes," he said, shifting his ground a little. "At least it isn't hydraulic. Those are the worst."

We arrived at the first floor and that was that. I didn't understand that last comment. Or him. A claustrophobe fated to work on the 15th floor? A finicky elevator nerd? A freelance weirdo? Or just someone a little awkward, wanting to make idle chitchat?


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