In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
I don’t like lifts. It’s not because I’m claustrophobic, although tight spaces don’t exactly fill me with feelings of joy and excitement. And I’m not particularly afraid that they will break down or send me plunging to an untimely demise, although I’m not thrilled about the thought of standing in a box dangling over a multi-story cavern of empitness either.
What concerns me more about lifts though, is the fact that I often find them extremely awkward (you may be starting to notice that this is somewhat of a theme in my life). But for now let us ignore the very reasonable argument that I could probably feel awkward in any given situation no matter how socially benign it might be.
First there is the tricky “getting in” bit. There is usually a queue, or rather, a group of people standing around offering the illusion of a queue, biding their time until they are legitimately allowed to shove, scratch and gouge their way inside once the lift arrives. If there are quite a few people who have to vacate the lift once it arrives, then time for shoving, scratching and gouging becomes limited.
You may even find yourself watching the doors close in front of you having totally failed to secure yourself a place inside, through a shameful lack of assertiveness or otherwise primal behaviour. When this happens all you can do is wait for another lift to arrive and hope you have better luck next time. There may be the possibility of recklessly projecting a possession or peripheral limb into the doors in the hope of forcing entry. However, this often results in embarassment and/or injury and is generally ill-advised.
Once you’re in, positioning is of paramount importance. If you were first in then at least you are guaranteed to be able to press the button for the floor you actually want to go to. However, if you were first in then it is almost certain that your floor will be the first one you stop at, and at this point, exiting the lift becomes challenging as you are now penned in by your fellow passengers and will need to somehow squeeze past them all in order to get out.
If, on the other hand, you were last in then you have no hope of reaching the buttons and must simply pray that someone else coincidentally wants to go to your floor and has managed to press the right button. Likewise, if you were last in then it is almost certain that your floor will be the very last one you stop at, and you are now the one penning in your fellow passengers as they attempt to squeeze past you on their way out to fresh air and freedom.
Quite aside from all the awkward logistics of embarking and disembarking on your brief but largely unpleasant journey, there is the matter of actually being in the lift for the duration. Because more people than is strictly acceptable have squahsed themselves inside a tiny metal box, and you are now closer than you ever wanted to be to people with whom you are not intimately acquainted. And whoever thought that it would be a good idea to put mirrors in there? No, it does not cunningly create the illusion of more space, it simply makes you painfully aware of just how many strangers you are currently pressed up against. Yet despite the added vantage point you still can’t quite work out whose hand that is, whether it’s your own, which is fine, or someone else’s, which definitely isn’t. And under no circumstances get the giggles, this will make you appear insane.
So all in all it seems like the stairs are a much better choice, and taking the lift is a bit of an ordeal we could all frankly do without, and not just in the event of fire.
I should make it clear that I am not advocating the stairs on any kind of health basis. Because to be honest (certainly if you’re me) the risks of tripping and doing yourself some kind of nasty injury on the stairs far outweigh the potential long-term health risks of going for the more sedentay lift option. Even so, though you may have two minutes to climb eight floors before your essay deadline goes whizzing by, legging it up the stairs still seems preferable to subjecting yourself to the whole lift experience.