A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Going local

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 28, 2008

Yesterday I stopped by an office building to run an errand. The elevator bank was directly across from the main staircase. Ordinarily, I would have taken the stairs – I like to walk, and I respect the environment. But my Save the Earth side peters out after the third floor of stairs, so I decided to take the elevator.

There were three people waiting for an elevator already, and none appeared to have just arrived. So when the elevator came, I was surprised to see not one but two women press the first floor (Lebanon operates on a European floor counting system) button.

I could have walked backwards up the staircase in less time than they spent waiting for the elevator. And neither of these women would have been the worse for a short workout.

When I lived in New York, there was one building whose elevators were always full. Whenever my friend N got on, he would look at the buttons pressed. If only a few were lit, he would say: Great – we’re going express.

But if multiple were pressed – particularly between the fourth and sixth floors, both of which offered easy stair access to other floors and to the street – he would say: Oh. Looks like we’re going local today.

I think of N’s comments whenever I get on an elevator here. Since very people here seem to share my if-its-under-three-floors-I-can-hoof-it belief, I spend a lot of time going local in elevators. And a lot of time hearing N’s words in my head, and trying not to giggle.

After all, few things empty an elevator faster than a passenger giggling exuberantly to herself – and I certainly don’t want to make anyone get out and walk!


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