Friday, August 7, 2009

Yes, I Am a Friend of Otis

We have three elevators at the plant: a passenger elevator (the absolute slowest elevator ride I have ever been subjected to), a large freight elevator (the most frightening elevator on Earth), and a small freight elevator. That small freight elevator (similar to the one pictured above) is my all time favorite elevator, ever (insofar as it's possible to actually have a favorite elevator, for crying out loud).

Anyway, the small freight elevator. You know the kind: steel car about three feet deep and six feet wide, with an open top and a pull-down wooden-slatted inner gate, all in an open elevator shaft, where each floor also has a pull-down metal-grill gate as a double redundancy. The kind of elevator with an up/down lever the rider has to hold down throughout the entire run, otherwise the car will deadstop once the connection is interrupted.

Same thing with the call buttons on each floor; one to call the car "up" to you, and the other to call the car "down" ... if you want that car to come, you need to look up and down the shaft to ascertain where it is (and whether it's already in use) then push the approprate call button, holding it down until the car arrives.

Since there are so many people on-site during the day (e.g., first shift), freight elevator etiquette is de rigueur. If you step on hijack someone else when the elevator is in-use you'll hear it up and down the shaft, same happens if you're in the car and "drive by" someone who is calling the elevator. And once you get a bad elevator rep, that's it, you're stuck with it.

I like that elevator so much I go out of my way to use it ... doesn't matter that I'm at the South end of the building and it's at the North (long building, looooong building), or that I have to "gear up" (e.g., change into my steel-toe shoes and don a hairnet and hard hat), or that it isn't at all temperature controlled ... whatever it takes, whatever the season, that small freight elevator is my preference.

The only time I can't use it is first/last ride of the day, as all my safety gear resides in my fifth floor office, which is why certain previous posts have lamented days of passenger-elevator-breakdown-so-walk-up-a-bazillion-steps-to-the-fifth-floor with no mention of "so I walked down the other end of the plant and took the small freight elevator instead" ... if I'm going to make everyone else wear safety gear, I can't cop out just because I'm fat and don't want to take the stairs!) .

But this past week my elevator ... my favorite elevator! ... has been toying with me. I get on, close the gates, press the lever and ... presto! Nothing happens.

What?!? Are you kidding me? My elevator doesn't work? So I try, repeatedly, muttering under my breath that I must not have the gate situated just so, and becominging increasingly frustrated with my anthropomorphised friend, the small elevator. I open and close both gates, jiggle them back and forth, press on the lever with varying degrees of pressure (because if simply applying a couple pounds of pressure won't do it, surely leaning my full body weight against the silly thing will make it work!). Not.

Then it moves, but not because I'm doing anything right, oh no! Merely because someone else, somewhere else, is calling my car. So I'm along for the ride. Sigh. I exit as soon as possible and takes the stairs (which happen to wrap around the elevator shaft).

This has gone on all week, with everyone laughing at me: the maintainance techs, who repeatedly make me show them my epic elevator fail, which they then turn into an abbreviated small freight elevator driving lesson (until I remind them that I've been driving this puppy three years now and I've got it, thankyouverymuch) ... and the operators, who pretty much do the same ... and the rest of the staff, ditto ... all while smiling maddeningly at my endearing little elevator foibles. I am the only person who cannot get this thing to work. Sheesh!

But today? Today ... finally ... the stars aligned and my small freight elevator is no longer putting me through my paces. Until.

Until last run of the day. I hop on and push the UP lever. And go nowhere. Expletive deleted! I try again. And again.

Fourth time is a charm, and away we go! All the way up to the fifth floor, where one of the maintenance techs awaits, arm extended, hand over the control, finger on the button, bringing me home. But.

But as soon as he lets up on the button, and before either of us can open the inner/outer gates, some yahoo on the first floor calls the elevator back down! Again!

I could have handled it better.

Instead ... I shrieked like a bansidhe, grieving the loss of my fifth floor. Not really, but I was not a happy camper, and may have poured my pent-up elevator frustrations just about all over the head of the poor lab tech who dared continue calling that elevator all the way to the first floor when he knew ... knew ... the person trapped within was less than pleased with being stepped on hijacked in such a fashion.

But Lisa, you ask, how could he know? Hunh. 'Parently you've never heard me bellow down an elevator shaft before.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Stairs, perchance?

la isla d'lisa said...

Oh, please. Stair's are so ... so ... Reagan era!

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