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Elevator, Down


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It's 98 degrees outside, and in here, on the 6th floor, it’s an oven. It's an old factory that made bottle-caps, now it's supposed to be artist studios. The pace is crazy, but it's a dump, even if you do get 15 foot ceilings, and concrete floors. The main elevator works about 50% of the time, so I’m taking the freight elevator instead, or simply, ‘the freight’ as the people who live here call it. I like it better, even if it takes longer. First, you pull down the outer metal doors that slide apart: One pulls down as the other slides up. They’re heavy, so you have to give it some strength, to get them open. Maybe use your foot, pry them open. Next, you lift up the door to the ‘cage’. Once inside, there’s a leather strap on the upper part of the heavy outer metal doors. You pull that down, until they close, then close the cage door. You hold the button in until you get to floor you want, and release it when you get there. You can see the floors go by, the brick walls, the massive wheels and the cable above you. I feel safer looking at those massive steel gears, forged 80 years ago in someplace like Pittsburgh. There’s nothing flimsy about them. Seeing ‘weight capacity 20,000 pounds’ doesn’t hurt, either. To tell you the truth, I’ve never much liked elevators; they feel claustrophobic, small, stuffy. This one, I can see everything pass by, there’s no mystery to what’s going on. If it got stuck, I could see exactly what kind of situation I was in, and how to get out of it. Plus, the thing is a good 15 feet wide, maybe more. You could move a grand piano in that thing, I think to myself.

So I’m waiting and I can hear somebody closing the doors down below, probably getting out. If you don’t close the doors after you leave, it just stays stuck on that floor, which is a pain. So I’m happy to hear the sound that says it’s on the way.

It jerks to a stop, and I pull down to slide the outer doors open, and get in. Nothing seems unusual. I hold the button in, and I can see the brick walls as I move past them, and then the numbers where the other floors are, 5, 4, 3, 2, L against the worn brick. It’s a peaceful feeling. I don’t want to get in the car, and navigate an hour of traffic down 95, especially with my rear-side window broken out and currently a mass of duct tape that keeps coming loose.  $300 to fix a tiny side window. Fuck that. And no AC. And then work, and the drive home. I take a deep breath, and get ready to let up on the button, but instead, I hold it in. And I keep going lower, first to the basement, then to a sub-basement, and I think, that’s odd, I never knew there was one. So I just keep it held in, and it goes lower and lower, and the gears and cables sound like a cat purring; I feel really calm, I don’t care where I come out, I just want to keep going.

---2016, Simo the Skunk, AKA Fossa-Boy

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