Friday, 24 August 2007

Up and Down in London Town

'As I pressed the button for the ground floor, a woman ran out from the bar to catch the lift.'Lately, I have become rather aware, not least concerned, of how the direction of one’s life can be altered vastly by the choice of one’s decisions when taken lightly. By this I mean that if one makes a snap decision without thinking about it, one can bugger one’s self for a much longer period of time.

This theory therefore extends to the age-old question of why someone would consciously make a decision with the prior knowledge that the resulting consequences are likely to be ones they would normally do anything to avoid.

Some classic examples of decision-making which can result in potentially disastrous consequences include:

1. Whether one chooses to turn left or right
2. Whether one chooses to leave home with or without an umbrella
3. Whether one chooses to take the lift or stairs

It is the latter of these which came to the fore last week when I paid a visit to my favourite hotel bar, continuing my attempt at breaking an extended period of writer’s block. The exercise in itself was a disaster from the start as I had forgotten to charge my laptop the night before, so if I’d had anything to write (which I didn’t) I wouldn’t have been able to do so anyway. So instead I just sat next to the large window high above the London skyline, trying to take inspiration from the oncoming grey rain cloud, which only resulted in remembering that I’d decided to leave my umbrella at home.

Having finished my large Chicken Caesar Salad, I decided the view of London wasn’t inspiring me and so decided to leave by way of the ‘Express Lift’. Five minutes later, it had still not arrived, nor was there any sign of the two lifts either side of it, and there were now six of us waiting to descend. I was just about to consider taking the stairs when I heard a ‘ding’ and the doors of one of the slower lifts opened.

Unfortunately, the group of five people who arrived after me took it upon themselves to enter the lift before me, but not before they’d checked the indicator to see in which direction the lift was going, which I found rather curious as we were on the top floor. I considered squeezing myself in, but changed my mind at the last second and let the doors close.

Fed up with waiting, I was just about to descend the stairs when the ‘Express Lift’ finally made an appearance. I momentarily considered Pink’s recent comment about how all writers are overweight and should take the stairs more often, but the lift was too tempting and so I decided to take that instead and get my own back on the group of five people by reaching the ground floor before they did.

As I pressed the button for the ground floor, a woman ran out from the bar to catch the lift. She smiled at me as I held the door open and the two of us were soon going down. As we glided past Floor 12, Lift Woman looked at me and said that she didn't like lifts because they made her feel queasy due to the way they ‘go up and down and keep stopping’. I found this a rather curious thing to say, especially as she’d hurried to catch the lift, so I just smiled and said that we’d soon be on the ground floor.

It was at that point that I remembered I have yet to learn the lesson about not speaking unless absolutely necessary, because mere seconds after my comment about reaching the ground floor safely the lift shuddered to a grinding halt between Floors 9 and 10.

Lift Woman began to look decidedly nervous, but I reassured her that everything would be fine and pressed the alarm button – which, of course, didn’t work. I could hear the other two lifts either side of us going up and down quite happily, stopping at various floors and letting passengers in and out, and so took some comfort in the thought that someone would realise the ‘Express Lift’ was now stuck. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to happen and Lift Woman started to perspire, repeating ‘it’s only a lift’ over and over again.

I tried the alarm again but it still did not work, so Lift Woman suggested I climb up into the shaft. When I asked her what that would actually achieve, apart from breaking my neck, she said she didn’t know but she’d seen Bruce Willis do it in Die Hard and at least she was coming up with ideas which was more than I was doing. I explained that I had no intention of pretending to be Bruce Willis, so Lift Woman decided to have a major panic attack and began pounding on the metal doors for help whilst screaming that we’d never be found alive in this ‘evil metal tomb’.

Trying to calm the situation, I took the initiative and called the hotel’s reception desk from my mobile phone and, after what seemed like an eternity, the lift began to move. But by now Lift Woman was huddled on the floor in a gibbering heap.

The doors finally opened to a reception area full of guests and a short fat man in a Concierge outfit holding a crow bar. Everyone seemed rather shocked to see Lift Woman slumped on the floor, and were even more shocked when she leapt to her feet and fled screaming across the reception area and out of the exit. I was given some very strange looks from the guests and reception staff who quite clearly were all contemplating a variety of sinister lift scenarios in their heads.

I realised it was pointless trying to explain what had happened, so I just thanked the Fat Concierge and walked out of the exit with everybody’s eyes burning into me, and didn’t stop until I’d put some distance between me and the hotel. Needless to say, thanks to Lift Woman I can probably never show my face there again.


Grannys.Myth.Peeler said...

Hey, just found you on humour blogs. I am a fellow limey blogger & I just thought I would let you know I enjoyed reading your last two posts. The coffee post was good, I felt a strange mixture of empathy & rage. I am glad you actually highlighted what is fast becoming an annoying issue for, dare I use the term, the English.

It’s good to know that should the language barrier raise it’s confusing head we can always resort to the international language of “shouting”.



mcewen said...

A self imposed ban I'm sure.
Best wishes

the frogster said...

I agree with you about life's little choices making all the difference. I've often pondered whether the car in front of me waiting too long at the traffic light has, in fact, saved me from a fatal accident that may have occurred had I not been held up. The problem, however, is that when I stop to think about the consequences of my actions for too long, I am beset by complete inaction. A devilish dilemma, to be sure.

And I disagree that you are suffering from writer's block. Well done.