Saturday, January 23, 2010

Luddite Lite: The Elevator

I hesitate to call these posts a series, as this is only the second time I've visited this topic, but as I have a few more ideas in my head on it, and as they are all more or less the same subject, we'll call them a series anyway.

This one is about the elevator. I admit to being a big fan of the elevator, under the right circumstances. When I was moving furniture into my current home it would have been helpful to have one to the third floor, especially with the narrow stairs. I've lived in apartments where without the elevator getting up and down to my apartment each day would have counted as serious exercise. And if all else failed, there is that scene in Ghostbusters to remind me what a good thing stairs can be.

Where do these stairs go?
They go up, Ray.

However, there are plenty of times when the stairs will do just fine. If I'm only going up one floor, it seems rather a waste to take the elevator. My legs work just fine, and I certainly can't make the argument that I don't need that extra bit of exercise that will come from climbing a flight or two of stairs. Sometimes the biggest challenge in taking the stairs is simply finding the stairs in the first place. Elevators are given pride of place in the floorplan, while the stairs are often shunted off to the sides.

There are also the slow elevators. There is a building on the campus where I currently work where, even going up three stories, I am generally faster on the stairs than the elevator is. It seems to have a permanent case of the slows. I suspect I might be able to go up and down before the elevator makes a single trip, and do it without breaking a sweat.

Most people know this, I would think, and I would expect any reasonably health-conscious person who can use the stairs would do so. Like so many of my expectations towards me fellow human beings, this one is often proved wrong. I saw someone waiting at the notoriously slow elevator the other day. A university student, who looked to be in good health, and who was even dressed as if they were on they're way to go jogging or some other workout. (I say on the way "to" because I was close enough that they didn't smell like it was on the way "from.") They even had a water bottle in their very streamlined little back pack. And yet, there they stood, waiting for the elevator. And waiting, and waiting.

Me? I took the stairs.

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