There are two elevators in my building. In the coveted left-hand elevator you can ride alone, but it is rarely on. The identical right-hand elevator is operated by one of three elevator girls, who alternate twelve-hour shifts. The elevator girl's job is to sit on a low stool under the single flickering microwatt fluorescent bulb and press buttons for the various floors. There is no reason for this job to exist; the elevator is modern and identical in every respect to its autonomous twin. But some higher authority has decided that there needs to be a young woman to push the buttons. The elevator girl says hello when you walk in, presses the button for your floor, and when you arrive at the first floor whispers "yì céng" in a faint Hans Christian Andersen voice, so you know you are on the first floor and not, say, back in your New York apartment, realizing this was all some creepy dream.
To make it all even more wrenching, the elevator girls hang out a meager selection of newspapers and magazines along the elevator's inside railing, which they sell for a tiny profit. They read the unsold copies during their twelve hour shifts, squinting under the flickering ghost light. I wish more than anything that I could buy one (all) of these papers from them, but I don't even know enough to make the request, let alone a plausible excuse for why I would buy something entirely in Chinese. And so each day begins with fifteen floors of intense mortification.
Very rarely I will step in to find the elevator girl chatting on the sparkly plastic phone (?!) that hangs on the elevator wall, and this lights up my day.
idlewords_rss continues to be awesome:
Current Music: Lulabox -- Ride On ♬