Monday, November 15, 2010

A matter of elevation

When I arrived here almost 3 months ago, an elevator had just been installed in the building in a free standing shaft on the outside of the facade. Up until then, all the thousands of immigrants who had been coming and going had been forced to schlepp their kids, furniture and merchandise in the stairs, 4 floors. The news was detailed in an announcement in the office, and among other things it pointed out that no kids under the age of 14 were allowed to use the elevator on their own.

Last week, the elevator worked for a whole of 2 days. The main reason for this is the fact that as soon as one of the plentiful toddlers here learns to walk, the other kids take him to the elevator and show him how to play with it. You go up and down, you press the "open door" and "close door" buttons in random order and you shove something in the door when it's closing, forcing the doors sensor to reopen it. Again and again. If you are really brave you shove yourself in the closing door.

So our elevator gets overworked and depressed and go on strike. Usually it's either stuck on the bottom with it's doors closed. Or it's stuck on the 1 floor, spastically opening and closing its doors. Forever. Days at a time. And obviously the peeps running this place – not even in the regular case a very ambitious crowd – get less and less interested in keeping the elevator running. After all, they don't live here. The single best explanation for how most things work in this place.

But the poor elevator has more problem than the kids. Adults are constantly using it as a cargo truck, hoisting furniture, garbage and all kinds of apparatus in it, cramming it full and pushing it to the limits. After only 2 weeks the fake bulging glass ceiling was cracked in a number of places, and the walls were scratched and dirty.

Finally the elevator itself needs to take some of the blame. If anyone with brains had ordered the elevator, they would have ordered a sturdy model, with a door that is closed manually, with no fake glass ceiling and no buttons to close or open the door. Basically the kind of elevator you usually put in a house that looks like a Soviet 1960's concrete suburb – a cargo elevator.

Instead however, they installed a fake 5 star hotel lobby elevator, complete with elevator music and a female and slightly suggestive voice calling out which floor you're on in grammatically incorrect Hebrew, as if you'd get lost among the 2 floors (It's actually 4 but it only stops at two...). Basically, the elevator of the world renowned brand Edunburg (yes....with a "U") is a hunk of garbage dressed up as a party crasher, dreaming it was installed in The Sheraton. The golden sign with the Edunburg logo used to have a bow of glass diamonds under it. It's indicative of the classiness of some of the peeps living here that only 2 of the diamonds are still up for stealing.

On the flip side, the constant maltreatment of the elevator first killed off the music, and after a few more bangs and bumps and schlepping in the stairs, the female voice with the bad Hebrew had called out her last floor, never to be heard from again. The chances I will outlive this elevator in Merkaz Yeelim are considerable...

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