Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Elevators, Then and Now

Have you ever read The Phantom Tollbooth? It is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s about a boy named Milo who learns, in traditional hero’s journey fashion, how to enjoy life and all it has to offer, especially education.

At the beginning of the book, Milo rushes home from school every day, takes the elevator to his floor, goes to his room, and flops on his bed, bored out of his mind. As a child, the main thing that struck me about this sequence of events was the elevator. Milo got to ride in an elevator every day? I was insanely jealous.

Perhaps because I spent most of my childhood years in a town with a population of around 8,000, I always dreamed of living in a big city. It seemed so exciting, and people there rode elevators every day!

Now, I live in a big city in a big building, and I ride an elevator every day. And it is the worst. If you have never lived in this situation before, just imagine: you have to wait for your turn just to leave the building. You have to carry groceries not just from your driveway into the house, but across the parking garage, through the door to the building, in the elevator, and then out the elevator, all before you get to your front door. And when you finally get to the car and realize you've forgotten something, it takes a full five minutes to go get it. It is no fun.

And then there is the issue of kids. They love to push the elevator button, and I think at first they liked the general idea of elevators. But they also love to push ALL the elevator buttons. And if you leave the your front door open for a minute, a kid can rush down the hall, push the button, and hop in an elevator, all without you. That hasn’t happened yet, but I can’t ignore the possibility. And then getting them in and out of elevators before the door closes? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I suppose I am glad I am having the experience of living in a high rise with nice views and an elevator, even if it’s just to say that I have done it, and I don’t want to do it anymore. It should come as no surprise that when our lease is up, we will move. There are tons of really great places just a few blocks from here that cost less and have…wait for it…driveways! And no elevators! Right now nothing sounds better.