Life in Poland

April 1st : Elevators and Me, Part Two

When we moved into our 1st apartment in the City, our dirty, stinky 1970’s apartment building without a 90 degree angle in sight, I was excited to find that we had an elevator,well, 2 elevators exactly. In my world, elevators are cool and our building had 2 stairways and 2 elevators and 2 sets of intercoms. Wow! Ameryka!

“Our” elevator exited right outside our apartment door. It was smaller than the other elevator. The other elevator (down the hall from us) was large and had one large door, you opened and closed by hand. There was no sliding automatic door. “Our” elevator was considerably smaller and had a series of doors. You opened the first door by hand, stepped in, the first door slamming behind you. Next, you had to close another set of double doors and press your floor and …usually nothing happened…because the interior doors almost never closed right. You usually had to hold them shut with your hands. Not that there was any danger that they would open and you would fall out, but if they were not closed properly you wouldn’t go anywhere.

My traveling on the lift usually looked like this. I got through the first door, then closed the second doors behind me and held them shut. I pressed the button for my floor and….nothing. I opened and closed the doors again, pressed the button and nothing and so on and so on in some compulsive-obsessive ritual until I finally gave up and walked to the 7th floor. Finally, I just gave up on the lift altogether and walked to the 7th floor (which had its own perils as our apartment building was a popular haven for the homeless…another post, another time).

Early one morning, I decided to pop to the store downstairs to buy something for Misiu and me for breakfast. On my way back, full of morning optimism, I decided to take the lift (or maybe I was just afraid the homeless people I stepped over on the way down the stairs wouldn’t appreciate me stepping over them again on the way back up). The same procedure as always, doors closed, hold shut with hand, press button and miracle of miracles, I’m going up, up I tell you! And then the lift stops…but not at my floor, well, almost at my floor, actually between the 6th and the 7th floors. I ritually open and close the doors, hold them with my hands and press some buttons. Then the lights go out and I cannot see what buttons I’m pressing. I pressed them all, one after another, until I located the alarm bell, which is just that, a little bell inside the lift which serves to do nothing more than to notify you, the person already stuck in the lift, that you are in fact stuck in the lift. The bell was pretty loud though and our apartment was not far away so I decided to ring and ring and ring. Nothing. I wasn’t going to be saved by the bell this time. I began pressing each button and manipulating the doors. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the elevator starting moving again and deposited me back where I had started on the ground floor.

As I walked back up to the 7th floor even the homeless people catching the look on my face got out of my way. I walked into our kitchen and slammed my shopping onto the kitchen table to which hungry Misiu asked, “What took you so long?” I growled back at him, that I had been stuck in the lift. He laughed, “All this time. Yeah, right.” I implored, “I really was. Didn’t you hear me ringing?” “That was you?” he asked disbelievingly. “I wondered what that ringing was.” “That was me,” I said defeated. “Really?” he asked again. “Yes,” I answered exasperated. “What did you think I was doing?” “Well,” he started, “it is April Fool’s Day. I thought maybe it was a joke.”

Happy April Fool’s Day

Here’s Part One of the elevator saga – Elevators and Me – Windy i Ja

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  • Reply
    April 1, 2011 at 2:47 am

    You sure have been bringing memories, first with the songs in your last post, now this.I grew up in a 1968 apartment building, with two stairways, two elevators and no intercom. Reading this post was like relieving my elevator nightmare. I hated that elevator with the two doors inside that never closed properly. As I mentioned in the comments to your \”part one elevator saga\” my mom and I got stuck in that nasty elevator when I was a kid. Unfortunately it did not move, our alarm button was ignored for a long time and finally ma dad and some neighbors rescued us. And yes, I used stairs 99% of the time after that going to the 5th floor (Polish 5th floor):) Prima aprilis! NOT – it is a true story(:

  • Reply
    April 1, 2011 at 10:20 am

    have you seen \”King's speech\”? the future king with his wife takes a lift, just like the one you are describing, probably for the first time in his life by himself, and the wife explains to him how to properly shut the door. I hoped they would get stuck, but no. I laughed anyway 🙂

  • Reply
    April 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I remember these elevators, they were a pure nightmare:)

  • Reply
    April 2, 2011 at 9:42 am

    And don't forget the smell :)ds- What's up with your blog comments? Do I need a password now?

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