I just wanted some more tea bags from downstairs. I had depleted all the Earl Grey, Lipton, and Chai and I will certainly not settle for “Cold Season” or “Snappy Lemon.” I was going for cup number three this morning with a week tea tally of 20.
Look up and watch the numbers light up- 5, 4, 3 and then a hard stop that made me grab the rail and hold my breath.
I tried pushing the second floor button. Nothing. So I pushed every other button. Nope. I sunk to the dirty elevator floor. At least I don’t have to pee.
I hit the alarm button a couple times, but that ringing is so annoying. Do you hit it staccato? Should you just hold it down? I was embarrassed just touching it. It brought back memories of hitting the alarm button in Towers’ elevators freshman year, especially when passing the 11th floor because that’s where Devious Dan lived. I hit that button on the 11th floor every time… until “the hot RA” told me to knock it off. Besides, if the front desk here is anything like Caneris, they’ll just roll their eyes anyway and turn up the volume.
[Love me, love me. Say that you’ll love me]
I felt like two hours passed. I examined closely the grates on the elevator ceiling, my belly button, turned all the numbers sideways. The buttons in Towers were always turned sideways. And melted like someone took a lighter to them. I think they’ve fixed that though.
“Don’t worry, Miss. Don’t be scared. It’ll be just one-a more minute, yes? Imma open the doors now. We get you out.”
He’s got a voice like Domenico from “A Shot at Love”- Italian, thick. Crowbar against the elevator door, the outer one. It hits the metal and makes a sound not so unlike tires screeching when you spin out. I know he has the doors open a little because it gets quiet… but then the doors slam shut again.
[Fool me, fool me. Go on and fool me]
The Bellevue on South Broad. Snazzy elevators with attendants to hold the door for you at the bottom. Offer you a paper or to call you a cab. Those elevators were a dark wood with nice carpet and lots of mirrors- which were great for those mornings when it rained or I had a poppy seed bagel. Check your hair, check your teeth. Sip your venti double mocha-choca non-fat sugar-free latte that some child in Guatamala labored to bring me. Fab. Doors open. Strut.
That’s where I usually saw the guy that looks like Henry Winkler. A dead ringer… and a silver fox, as they say. That’s where I met the mayor, but had no idea who he was. Then again, who else would randomly ask a stranger what they think about the new lights on Avenue of the Arts. “I’m not really sure. It’s like South Street on South Broad. The lights on the Wachovia building make it look cheap. I think it’s a travesty”
[Love me, love me. Pretend that you love me]
The floor moves a little and the outer doors are pried open. Definitely not what I expected that Italian guy to look like. His face was weathered. Maybe in his 50s. Wearing plaid flannel. The floor is shoulder high and he wants me to grab his hand so he can pull me up. Um no. Gimme a chair… and a god damn timpani roll. I get the chair and hurriedly pull myself out. I was waiting for the elevator to fall and cut me in two. I wonder if that would have made the news…
[Leave me, leave me. Just say that you need me.]
Weekly tea tally: 24 cups.
[I can’t care about anything but you]
[anything but you]