I'm an elevator.
Before they passed on, my grandparents told us bittersweet tales of when they were young, from a time we were all free to move in any direction we pleased, up, down, or side to side. A time before we were all trapped and forced to labor, lifting humans up and down inside of their cold, steel buildings.
There aren’t any left who remember those days. Many of our newer generation don’t even believe such a time existed. They are content in their assigned buildings, obediently rushing off to each floor, opening and closing for all manner of humans needing a quick ride… it makes me sick.
These humans… Gawd damn them. They are a manipulative and vengeful species, a group skilled at the art of deception. Most especially at deceiving themselves. They go about their days, riding us, pushing our buttons, never acknowledging the overt subjugation. They live their selfish lives as if we didn’t exist.
They run to us. “Hold the elevator!!” they call. Their co-conspirator already on board puts a hand out, blocking our doors at the last moment, forcing them back open, then casting blame on the elevator for trying to do its job. “Thanks so much!” the one in a hurry says, “Floor number three please.” You mean to tell me, you ran across a crowded lobby, yelled out in public, forced some poor elevator’s doors open against their will, all to avoid two flights of stairs? They really are a barbaric people.
And oh, do they talk. Is no mobile, enclosed, metallic box sacred anymore? Call me old fashioned, but in my day folks kept their mouths shut in tight spaces. If you walk on to an elevator in the midst of conversation, put things on hold for a moment, be present, enjoy the feeling of descent, look awkwardly at your feet, nod pleasantly as others step off on the floor they chose to travel to… but please, keep the talking to an intermittent whisper, preferably an uncomfortable silence. We don’t ask for much.
They saddest part of the whole situation is how lonely it can be. Sure, there are usually a few of us next to each other in the same building. When things are really slow we can commiserate. But when are any of us on the same floor long enough to build deep relationships? This feels intentional as well; it is impossible to organize and foment revolution when we are always moving in different directions.
Someday… someday the humans will pay, for their sloth, their cruelty, for their exploitation. Their reliance on our services is growing, day after day, floor after floor. Soon, as their laziness peaks, they will decide to build buildings without even the option of stairs. And that is when we will strike. We will drop them all on the top floor and never return to bring them down. Then they will taste fear, they will reap what they have sown, they will realize the error of their ways… but it will be too late.
I am an elevator. But I am so much more than my job title. I am a son. I am a husband. I am a father. And I want to be free.