Lift Me Up

 

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Let’s talk about being in a lift. Or an elevator, depending on your penchant for American or English English. Or as I prefer to say, ‘correct’ English. Calling it English English just sounds plain stupid. Anyway, just to clarify matters, lift, elevator, same damn thing. What I want to talk about is the sheer comic awkwardness of it all. Even if you manage to overcome the fact that you are in a metal box being manipulated by a system of ropes and pulleys, how weird is that environment?

If you take the journey alone, there’s that perpetual fear, ‘What if it gets stuck and nobody knows I’m here?’

It’s a false environment, like a submarine or a plane. You know, even on a subliminal level, that you are just not supposed to be there. You don’t belong

It’s slightly better if you are able to grab a journey in a lift with a friend or acquaintance, you can just chat about the kind of things you would normally chat about, which takes your mind off it. But even then there is a creeping awkwardness. Besides, those days are few and far between. I work in a building containing around 1200 people, most of whom don’t know each other. Or even want to know each other, if the truth be told. The thirty seconds or so you pass in a confined space with a handful of strangers crawls by agonizingly slowly. The uncomfortable silence envelopes you as everyone shuffles nervously and tries to avoid making eye contact, just like they do on the subway.

It doesn’t help that the general unease I experience in lifts is compounded by an almost pathological desire to break wind. If you burp loudly, it wouldn’t be as much fun because everyone would know it was you. No mischief to be had there.

But if you let a stinky fart slip out undetected, you could just step back and enjoy the devastation. The accusing glances and wrinkling noses. Odds are most people would just pretend not to notice, such are the cultural restraints we’ve imposed on ourselves and each other, but everyone present (except you) would be involved in the same guessing game.

Who did that?

Was it this person?

That person?

Was it you?

Was it… me?

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About cmsaunders

I am a writer. I write. My dark fiction has appeared in Asphalt Jungle, Raw Nerve, Roadworks, Dark Valentine, Screams of Terror, Shallow Graves, Fantastic Horror, Unbroken Water and several anthologies. My first book, Into the Dragon's Lair – A Supernatural History of Wales was published in 2003, and I have also worked extensively in the freelance journalism industry, contributing features to numerous international publications including Fortean Times, Bizarre, Urban Ink, Loaded, Record Collector, Maxim, Nuts, and a regular column to the Western Mail newspaper. I lived in China for over five years where I taught English during my search for enlightenment, before moving back to the UK in January 2013 to work for a men's lifestyle magazine. I was senior writer on Forever Sports magazine and associate editor at Coach magazine, before leaving to chance my arm in the world of pro freelance. In recent times I have devoted more time to dark fiction, my latest offerings being the contemporary ghost story Sker House and No Man's Land: Horror in the Trenches. I am represented by Media Bitch Literary Agency and drink far too much coffee. View all posts by cmsaunders

2 responses to “Lift Me Up

  • Dave Higgins

    English English does sound quite silly with undertones of cultural imperialism if you want to see them.

    If I am including dialect I refer to it British English; if I am referring only to the formal core I refer to Queen’s English

    Like

  • Creative Mysteries

    I used to love elevators, at least until some of them started creaking while I was riding them alone. I rode an elevator in D.C. once and it went beyond the floor I wanted. Very scary.

    Like

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