Elevators and Escalators

Another “tribute” post for today. This one is because my grandfather was an elevator repairman… he had definite and strong opinions about elevators and escalators. He was right to do so. One industry paid his wages and helped him to support his family, pay their bills and live the great life that came from post World War II; the other threatened his way of life, (I believe, to a very limited extent – but maybe not. Perhaps, I understand his loyalty better now that I have been brand loyal to companies and clients, too.)

Not back then, I didn’t.

I was in big trouble as a little girl when I thought (and spoke out loud) how great I thought escalators were. Stairs that moved! You could see everything in the mall and look down on the tops of the jewelry counter in Macy’s! For a small child (I was a tiny, little girl, shortest by far until middle of high school when I just grew and grew) at the tender age of 6, the view from an escalator was an adult view – as close to heavenly heights as we could get inside of a building!

Clearly, escalators have limits. They’re slow, they can only go one floor (pretty much) at a time and they take up far, far more space in a building.

Elevators, while being closed in boxes, can move you from the first to the 50th floor (and higher) in a matter of seconds. They can be fast – so fast that your ears can pop. Plus – most importantly – they are social. For some reason, whether it is society or culture or just against human nature to be “silent” when within close proximity to other people in an elevator. Even if it is just for a few seconds, the unnatural, uncomfortable feeling tends to prompt complete strangers say:

  • “Hello”
  • “How are you?”
  • “Crazy weather we’re having, huh?”
  • “It’s Monday, ready for a long week?”
  • “Wow, where’d you get your lunch, it smells great!”
  • “Have a great weekend!!”

Maybe that was one of the reasons my grandfather liked elevators more than escalators. They brought people together.

He and my grandmother were members of the Social Club for as long as I can remember – they met friends, danced every weekend and even better, made new friends, too. Friends who were far younger than they were even… How do I know this? These people came to our family celebrations and commented to us how adorable we were, more so than our grandparents had told them. I remember, one couple that my husband and I ran into on our honeymoon – in Hawaii – they beat us back to NJ and shared our little meet and greet with my grandparents. It was the highlight of their week and they couldn’t wait to ask us all about it.

So, the next time you have a choice, maybe you should take the elevator – even if it is a bit longer from the first to the 2nd floor – and while you are there say, hello. You can think about how the guy who makes that machine work probably cares very much about your life, your safety and society, too.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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