Wednesday, July 18, 2007


#269 Elevators

So, who decided that "ding ding" means down and "ding" means up when the elevator gets to your floor. It could have been the other way…. Like "ding" for down and "ding ding" for up. But somehow, somewhere, someone decided that "ding" means up and "ding ding" means down.

Sometimes in newer buildings, they get it wrong. This is very confusing for most of us, because either we're unable to see the little arrows atop the door or we think the sight and the sound conflict and we don't know which way the car is going to go. Unless, of course, we're in the penthouse or the basement.

Once in the elevator, where is the elevator music? Half the reason to get into an elevator in the first place is because it's the last public place on earth you can hear a Living Strings or Percy Faith record (except for the latter's "The Stripper," which is used as production music by many a small-town radio and television broadcaster.)

No more elevator music. If that's the case, why not just take the stairs. It's good exercise and you never have to figure out what the little bell means because there isn't any little bell.

You say you HAVE to take the elevator because it's too many floors from the lobby to the observation deck in the Empire State Building? Then, you may ask, why if they can put a man on the moon, conquer Iraq and make a "Lite" beer that still tastes like beer, why can't they make an elevator that doesn't make your stomach travel after the rest of you stops?

And those little arrows above the buttons – they're almost as confusing as "ding ding" for up and "ding" for down. Why the little arrows? Why not a little sign that says "doors open," and "doors close?"

It's downright frustrating is what it is.

It was a lot easier when there were elevator operators - guys in uniform and wearing white gloves who told you where you were headed, announced what was on the floor at which they stopped, opened and closed the doors by hand and occasionally allowed all of your internal organs to arrive at your destination at the same time.

And you could have a conversation, or listen to The Norman Luboff Choir's latest hit.

Further, when you got to a floor, the operator would say “Going up,” or “Going down.” There never was any confusion.

The elevator operators came in two general varieties, the over-friendly and the over-cranky. Or maybe they were all schizophrenic and the attitude depended on some internal chemistry that's a mystery to the rest of us.

But those days are gone forever. After all, elevator operators get health benefits.

Ding Ding!

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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