Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Elevator Karma

Everybody gets in elevators with total strangers. For the most part, you don't notice anyone else and most people take great care to avoid meeting eyes because that's just part of elevator etiquette. Being touchy-feely isn't really in vogue on the elevator.

A few years ago, I was in Vancouver for a couple days before heading off to Whistler for some skiing. I was staying in the tallest building in Vancouver at a period in my life when I was a Starwood whore (now I'm a Hyatt man - more to come in a later blog post). I was staying on the 29th floor. But the elevators at this hotel were like Star Trek teletransporters because there were that fast.

This is good because I can be somewhat (ok, a lot) impatient waiting for and riding elevators. Usually I just want to get up or down wherever I'm going as quickly as possible. A lot of people hold elevators. I never hold elevators because when others do it, it ANNOYS THE SHIT OUT OF ME. These narcissists hold out their arm while I'm waiting inside as if I have nothing better to do than wait for their slow ass friend to take his sweet time to get to the elevator, while smoke is coming out of my ears. Then the friend arrives and doesn't even realize that he's kept the rest of us waiting because he and his friend were convinced that this was the last possible elevator ride of the day and no more would be coming.

I try to show by example, meaning when I approach an elevator bank, I don't scream "Hold it!" because I, unlike others, do not have a manic disregard for the lives of others. I wait, damn it.

Anyway, one day when I came back to my hotel after walking around Vancouver, I pressed the button and waited. The elevator arrived, and I got on and pressed the "Door Close" button almost immediately. Right before the doors closed, an arm slipped through. The doors opened and in came this guy in a suit and sunglasses. I gave out this big huff (huff!) and sneered at him. Who the hell are we waiting for?

Finally, our guest of honor arrived. Normally, I wouldn't give a second glance because my glare gives a pretty clear message that you would gather in about two seconds: "No. I am not happy to have waited for your sorry ass while you held all of us up because you're too lazy to wait for the next one."

But this time, I couldn't help but stare because this guy was wearing bright red and gold sheets. OMG. Is that the Dalai Lama?!?! I looked again, and wondered, is my hotel that nice that the Dalai Lama would be staying there? And what is he doing there?

The doors closed and our ride began. I was standing in the back, totally immoble. I felt like I was in a holy vessel and kind of hitchhiked a ride to heaven.

As I said, the elevators there are very fast, and pretty soon we arrived at my floor. I get off, and the Dalai Lama says "Have a nice day." I wanted to pull a George Costanza and start blubbering, "Listen, I hope you didn't think I was glaring at you. I love Tibetans and I love red and gold. Where'd you get those sheets in fact? I really wasn't glaring. I was just staring into space and that's my look of deep thought. I love sharing elevators! Free Tibet!"

But I just turned around and smiled and then left. I got back inside my room and turned on the TV and whaddya know, there was a local news reporter in front of my hotel talking about the Dalai Lama and his visit.

Well, I hope any tension was diffused during my moment with his holiness. But I'm sorry, Mr. Lama, I still don't hold elevators for anybody. I'll probably come back in my next life as an elevator man.

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