Friday, September 4, 2009

Ode to Elisha Otis

Hello again, dear reader.

I'd like to invite you to sit back, toss another log on the fireplace, re-adjust your reading glasses, and get ready for a little history lesson. Don't worry. There won't be a quiz. This is strictly for learning the joys of the days gone by.

Elisha Graves Otis was born on August 3, 1811 (at least according to Wikipedia) in Halifax, Vermont. Now if you are a perceptive person, you may have recognized the last name from elsewhere. You've probably seen it most every time you've stepped into an elevator. Yes, Elisha Otis was the first person to install a safety elevator (one that wouldn't crash down if the cable broke (yes, also info from Wikipedia (but again, i digress))). The elevator was installed on March 23rd, 1857 at 488 Broadway in New York City.

Fast forward a few years and go a few more blocks uptown and you'll find our humble apartment. We live on the 10th floor and thus, must use one of his machines to get to and leave from our apartment. Typical elevator operating instructions for leaving our apartment are as follows:
  1. Push the "Down" button to signal that we want to descend.
  2. Wait patiently for vertical carriage to arrive. *NOTE: If other patron approaches elevator, make brief eye-contact, nod, and immediately return to looking forward. You may look at your watch or cell phone to pass the time.*
  3. Enter the elevator car when the doors open.
  4. Push the button labeled "L" for lobby.
  5. Doors will then close and the Otis Lift will descend. *NOTE: If you are impatient, you may push the "Close Door" button as signified by two arrows pointing towards the center.
  6. Upon arriving in the lobby, the doors will open. Exit and continue on your merry way.
I'm sorry if I've bored you with all this introduction, but there is a point. Refer to the NOTE on point 5. It just so happens that Jaime has an issue with that part. There is also another button in the elevator that is labeled with a picture of a bell that you would push to call in case you need to call for help. And yes, as i'm sure you've deduced by now, Jaime has mixed up the "Bell" button with the "Close Door" button.

It first happened when we were leaving our apartment. She pushed it and was absolutely mortified. The phone started to ring and we both just watched the numbers count down to L. Thankfully the person working the desk was preoccupied and never answered. We ran out as fast as we could.

And then it happened again. 61st and 1st. Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Again, we escaped. (Yes, i use the pronoun we, but i tell you the truth when I say she was the one working the buttons.)

Yup. 3rd time. She was by herself in the elevator. This time they answered. She apologized, but still, it was quite humbling.

So far, that's it. 3 times (did i mention that this all happened within the course of 3 weeks). Don't worry, i'll keep you updated on the emergency-bell-count.

Thanks for bearing through this one. Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time...