Thursday, October 18, 2007

Press the 9 and I'll Kill You.

It's Nuclear Toast's fault that I even noticed this. His post about the things that annoy him got me thinking about the things that annoy me, and I came to two conclusions: (1) my list is a whole lot longer than his, and (2) dragging into the light the things that annoy me, annoys me. Add that to your list, bucko.

So yesterday I was in Seattle's interesting but rather unfriendly new downtown library, doing research for some articles I hope someone somewhere will want to pay me for, when I had to make a few photocopies. Why photocopies? Because I was on the 10th floor, in the Seattle history section, and you can't take books out of that area. Fair enough. There's a copy machine right there, I can do that. Except I can't. I have no change, just a $10 bill, and the machine takes only fives and ones. Natch.

"Where can I get change?" I whisper to the librarian.

"First floor," she barks back. Why don't librarians have to whisper? Is it one of the perks of the job that we all have to be quiet but they don't? Damn. Another thing to add to my list.

First floor. I'm on the 10th. This is a busy, big-city library. To do this, I must pack up my laptop, because she's already warned me to take it with me with that "I'm not going to watch it for you, don't even ask" look in her eye. I can't take the book with me to photocopy down there because the books in this section are sacred, and like that episode of Twilight Zone where everyone lives forever as long as they don't leave the town, the book will crumble to dust the moment I go beyond the perimeters of sacred Seattle space. Right.

I close up my many windows (sorry, Windows), shut down my computer, dismantle the whole thing (seriously, shuttle launches involve fewer plugs and pieces), pack it up in my bag and head to the elevator.

When it finally arrives, it's packed. There are at least eight people in there already, but there aren't many elevators in this very large, very busy library, so I shove my way in there, laptop in front of me like a battering ram. I prepare for a lengthy descent. We pass floor 9 without stopping, then 8, then 7. Then it's floor 6, and people are starting to notice. Then it's 5, and someone breaks the cardinal rule of "don't hex a good thing" by saying, "Are we going to make it all the way?" We punch him in the head, gag him and shove him in a corner.

Then it's floor 4, then 3, and the excitement in the elevator is almost too much to take. Are we going to make it? We've all been holding our breath and we let it out and grin at each other as we whiz past floor 2 like we're too good for it.

It's amazing, and put this on my list of "miracles that made my moment," but we went all the way to one without a single stop. Like Willy Wonka's factory, no one got on, and no one got off. Everyone was so excited, that when the doors opened on floor one, we all hesitated a moment, then broke into applause. I doubt any floor of the library has seen a more congenial group of elevator riders as we get off, whooping victoriously and high fiving each other. One guy suggested having t-shirts made that read "I dropped from the 10th floor and didn't die." We traded phone numbers, swore to write often and went our separate ways.

I got my $10 bill transformed into a bunch of smaller bills, then took the elevator back up to 10 for my photocopies. Never again (in the 2 more elevator rides that day) did I make it all the way without stopping. No, that would be asking too much of ThyssenoeusKrupptophanes, ancient Greek god of vertical lifting devices.

But I never will forget that for one shining moment, the gods grinned at me in my puny mission to get change for the photocopier. And all I got was this lousy t-shirt.


NuclearToast said...

That is awesome. Usually when that happens to me, the elevator zooms the whole way and then stops on the 2nd floor for some waste of skin that can't walk down one flight of stairs. Well done, you!

DK said...

hilarious! go out and have more weird experiences and write about them!

Lynn Sinclair said...

A momentous occasion. Not only was your elevator non-stop, when you returned to the photocopier, it actually worked. A good day.

CJ said...

While I do enjoy the never-ending spiral of the building, it sure makes it difficult to go up or down several floors quickly! Now when do we get to read the article you've been researching for?

Ash said...

LOL :)