by Céline Delaunay, Anti Air-Pusher Activist
(Based on a true story. Some events have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Nobody goes anywhere at two in the afternoon on Sunday. Anyone who is planning on doing anything is either already doing it or doing it later. Thus, it is the perfect time for lone elevator rides to your apartment.
You walk to the hallway where the elevators are, content from your afternoon jog. People were particularly people-watchy today. You press the button to call the elevator and look up above the threshold as the number nine is illuminated. You prefer for it to be on the third, because this is the perfect amount of time to prepare for the elevator’s arrival, but not too long to get bored from the waiting. Usually it is not on such a high floor, but it is okay, because it is Sunday at two o’clock in the afternoon and you make allowances for these kinds of things.
Then there is a sound. Talking. Two people talking. Two talking people have entered your building and they are opening and closing their mouths and pushing their air out of them at two o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday. You look at the numbers over the elevator threshold in disdain, reconsidering the allowances you had previously made. The three illuminates, as though mocking you. You stick your tongue out back at it. The air-pushers are searching for their key to make their way into the elevator room. The two illuminates. You assume the best stance to most efficiently enter the elevator once it arrives. The one illuminates. The door opens gradually. You dart in as soon as the gap is large enough to fit your frame.
You begin furiously pressing the ‘door close’ button, but the elevator gods are closely related to the crosswalk gods and their unforgiving nature is genetic. The excited banter grows in volume, so you assume an aloof pose as the deafening duo make their way into the metal box with you—one that says, “yes, this is exactly what I wanted.” One presses the button for the fourth floor. The other presses for the fifth. They talk uproariously, each word echoing off of the silver walls. By the time you reach the fourth floor there is such a din, it’s as though the piano man has left his foot on the sustain pedal by accident. There is a ding and the noise cascades out through the open door as one regretfully gets off. The second one looks at you with an apologetic smile. “I always feel silly when someone gets off at the fourth floor and I get off on the fifth,” she says.
You look at the reflection of her intentionally messy bun in the door behind her. “Don’t worry about it,” you smile back.