David Moseley

Going down?

2013-03-19 13:45

David Moseley

About eight years ago I was standing, alone, in an elevator at Sun City. Just as the door was about to close a swarm of Japanese tourists armed with enough camera equipment to shoot Avatar II, III and IV back-to-back stormed into the cramped space. I nodded politely. They nodded politely.

In a flash (pardon the very deliberate pun), they had their cameras aimed at my not unhandsome head. For an incredibly awkward moment I wondered if they'd mistaken me for Hugh Laurie (it happens more than I'd care to admit), who was riding high on his House fame at the time.

My delusions of grandeur were quickly diffused, however, when one of the eager clickers abruptly brushed me aside, so he and his fellow camerapeople could zoom in on their intended target, a vile, swamp-green tapestry displaying large toads in various states of repose.

In a brilliant, blinding flurry of clicking, "ah-ing" and head nodding, my lift mates snapped for posterity this fine piece of casino art between floors one and two, leaving me blinded for the rest of my ride and puzzled at what they found so compelling in the tapestry for the rest of my life.

Not long after that, I found myself trapped alongside cricketing great Brian McMillan in a crowded, broken down lift at Newlands Cricket Ground. After a long day of sitting in the sun drinking beer, this was hardly the ideal time to meet one of the game's finest all-rounders.

Panicked individuals, worried that the sweaty lift may be stuck for quite some time, banging on the lift doors, drowned out my conversation with the big man, who nonetheless happily answered my slurry impositions. Eventually, those big hands of that big man came to the party when he pried the stubborn doors apart.

More recently, a woman in my elevator at work, evidently dying of a woeful combination of the plague, SARS and decrepit manners, spluttered and sneezed all over me in our short ride of eight floors. I thank her profusely for sharing a unique infection.

And, of course, on a daily basis, when the lift doors open, I'm treated to a comic display that fatally proves humans are the least intelligent life in the known and unknown universe.

I like to call it the "Tummy-touching Tango", or "Fools Rush In", but "people being morons" is as effective in describing the phenomenon of supposedly educated beings barging into a small, enclosed area that is packed with people desperately trying to get out. It's as if all mental faculties shut down the instant lift doors open, and otherwise sane humans attempt the impossible in trying to fill a space that is already occupied, like trying to cram one more piece of hand luggage in stowage when it’s quite evident that not even a fart could squeeze in.

Nothing, though, tickles me more in my daily dealings with a lift than the One Floorers. This select group of geniuses can usually be found loitering inside a hotel or office lobby patiently waiting for a ride to, you would think, the 97th floor.

Even if the lift appears to be coming from Mars, taking its sweet time to reach the ground level, the One Floorers will stand resolute, determined to ride the Great Silver Box of Many Buttons.

Naturally, you're in line too, waiting to get to your eighth-floor office. Ping goes the lift, in marches the crowds. And after minutes of ill at ease waiting, they press the first floor button. In a second, they've reached their destination, toddling off cheerily and unaware of the trembling, crying heap of humanity who just wants to get to work without having to stop on every floor.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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