Living in New York certainly has its ups and downs. No, really. You have to go up and down a lot. Apartment buildings, office, subway, train station, airport. I bet I spend more time moving on a vertical plane than I do otherwise. Moving up and down this much in a city is facilitated largely by only one method: The Stairs. The escalator is not faster, nor is an elevator.
I know what you’re thinking “Andy you’re crazy…but so very, very attractive. What’s your phone number?” If only you were cool enough to have it, like Jazz. Anyway, my point is that the myriads of people that instantly flock to the mechanical means of strutting skyward make the process incredibly slow.
Hundreds of people can fit on any given train. Maybe 15 people can fit on an escalator. This translates into a lengthy line, sometimes as many as 50 people deep. Inevitably the process is complicated by the lack of an escalator “passing lane.” Typically the people on an escalator who don’t move at all stay to the right, while the left side is reserved for those who can’t wait to go to work and hate their job a little more, all the while stuffing their faces with donuts and downing gallons of $5 starbucks coffees. Unfortunately this system is always thwarted. Sure a couple people will get it right and the line will be moving well at first, then inevitably an overweight hispanic woman with 16 shopping bags will find her way into the fast lane. Usually she is utterly confused, nearly trips and falls once reaching the top, and then stops directly at the exit of the escalator.
Me? I take the damn stairs. When coming out of Penn Station (or any other escalator equipped area) I make it a point to head straight for the stairs, turn my head and look at the people on the escalator, and give them the finger as I make my way hurriedly up the steps. Sometimes people are offended but I just shrug and give them a look that says “hey pal, at least I’m not stuck on some damn escalator behind an old hispanic woman with shopping bags. This could be you.” Usually the person receiving this look stares at the ground and a single tear falls into the receding staircase.
At work, I am on the 9th floor. Alright, I’m not going to pretend to be some leggy super-hero, I take the elevator. I have this rule for myself – 6th floor or less: staircase, otherwise its the elevator. Our building has only 12 floors, so you’d think it wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s bad, I assure you. You see our elevators are incredibly slow. It takes literally 7 minutes for an elevator to show up on average after you push the button. That’s on AVERAGE. Which means sometimes it takes longer! The wait itself wouldn’t be so bad, but the problem arises when multiple people are using the elevator.
Usually I’m the first on the elevator, largely because of my broad shoulders and bad attitude towards others. As I stand there and wait for the cabin to fill up I like to watch all the lights below me that light up. 3, 4, a 2, maybe a 6. Then I observe the jerks cramming their digits against the buttons. They’re all fat, they all appear slow, and I’m willing to bet they can barely count to the number they just pushed. This infuriates me. Not only are they wasting my time, they have wasted their own by waiting for the elevator in the first place rather than walking up 2 flights of stairs, they’re not burning calories and therefore suffocating their hearts with the breakfast pastries they have no doubt consumed with high-calorie juices, and they smell. At this point, the following speech usually runs through my head:
“Concerned Citizens of Gotham! This is a plea! You, overweight sweaty man in puffy coat! You, obese old woman with oddly shaped legs! Hear my call! Yay though your knees don’t bend as they should and your breath be nothing but a whisp in your throat, take the stairs! Only two flights need you climb! It will be faster than taking the elevator, if not today, then certainly in a week’s time when you will be in shape enough to do it! Hamper me not with your petty button pushing and laziness! It will cost you your life! Now, onward! To the stairs!”
Perhaps the most ironic part about the whole situation is that most of the people getting off on the 3rd floor are going for physical therapy. I could certainly understand if the problem was obvious (a broken leg or the like), but I’m guessing for most of them its just because they’re old* and portly.
*this denotes anyone over the age of 35, which I don’t really consider old, but I think its because they consider themselves old.