I’m not really a fan of elevators.
But today I found myself in one that I almost never take.
My regular routine for arriving at the college where I teach was interrupted today since I needed to make a detour and stop at campus police for a key.
This lead me to walk across campus from my assigned parking garage instead of taking the parking garage elevator (which for some reason doesn’t bother me) straight up to the top and just walking over to my building from there.
And then? Once the key was in my hand, I walked over to the first floor of my building and had to take that elevator up to to the top floor.
I walked up to the elevator just as it was letting a couple people out and I quick squeezed in, and reached over and hit “5”.
Suddenly? It was 1997 and I was in my dorm elevator.
All four of us in that elevator were trying to stand as far away from each other as humanly possible without looking like we were trying to stand as far away from each other as humanly possible.
Of course the elevator went down to the basement before going up. And the dude in the back with the HUGE pile of stuff got off.
Just like in college when someone with 4 weeks worth of laundry got off at the basement and you were pretty sure that person? Was down there for the duration.
Then we went back up to the ground level. And stopped. And the door opened. And no one was there.
Just like in good old Harrison Hall. I swear it was the LAW that that damn elevator ALWAYS stop on the ground floor, JUST to waste everyone’s time.
We proceeded up.
I stood straight back from the doors so that I could see the other two passengers out of my peripheral vision while staring up at the numbers.
The elevator was as old as the building which was as old as dirt.
There were weird straining noises.
There was a shimmy.
I was 19 again, coming back from class after an afternoon of boring classes hoping beyond hope that this old ass elevator just made it to the top floor so I could take a nap.
The elevator stopped on the third floor.
The older lady on my left exited and I swiftly moved into her corner. I leaned back and slouched into the shape of the corner.
I was coming back from a late night hoping that the elevator ride wouldn’t be too long…or have too much moving. I just needed to make it back to my room. Why was the elevator spinning? Please don’t let me puke here in front of other people.
We stopped on the fourth floor and suddenly I was alone in the ancient elevator.
Alone with the smell of dirtied floor wax and old sweat and the inside of someones nasty backpack.
I am kicking a discarded Popov bottle with one toe, and trying to avoid the sticky substance on the floor in the corner. I’ve also noticed that someone has stuck his/her gum on the hand rail. Again. And do I smell old pizza?
I come out of my zone and realize I am on the fifth floor. My floor. As I straighten up to exit, I adjust my tote bag and take a step forward. Out of something sticky.
And do I smell old pizza?