This week, something amazing happened. It was a dream come true. No, I didn’t win a Nobel Prize for Sassy Literature—I didn’t even get the writer’s grant I’d applied for which, even though it was a long shot, still really made me sad. But then I was at work, and I got the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted for a long time. And if you’re thinking, “Mydangblog finally got to drive a forklift!”, you’d be sadly mistaken and also, driving a forklift around an antiques market would be a very bad idea, and I’ve always thought the saying, “Like a bull in a china shop” should really be “Like a forklift in an antiques market”. No, the exciting news is this—I got trained to operate the elevator! And while this doesn’t sound very earthshattering, given that most elevators are easily operated by literally a small child, and I myself have operated many in the past by pushing the up button or the down button, or in one terrifying case, the emergency call button, this elevator is very different, as you can see here:
It’s technically a freight elevator, and it looks f*cking terrifying, am I right? Like the gaping maw into hell, or a cave where vampires live. And it was my greatest heart’s desire to be able to run it all by myself. Now, thanks to my 21-year-old boss, who showed me how to use the buttons on the outside to bring it either up or down to our floor, then pull up and lower the gate, and use the buttons on the inside to take it either upstairs or to the basement, I am now officially trained to operate the elevator. How hard can it be? you ask. IT DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY STOP AT EACH FLOOR, BOB. That’s right—you have to wait until you get close to even with the next floor and then let go of the button. My boss told me a trick—there’s a slight click right before the elevator and the floor line up, so you can kind of predict when to stop. Here are some other helpful tips he gave me:
1. Don’t stick your foot in the gap between the elevator floor and the elevator shaft.
2. If you stop too high, don’t push the down button right away. Give it a second—any abrupt jerking can pull the elevator off its track.
3. The gate on Floor 3 only goes up three quarters of the way, so don’t try to force it or it’ll get stuck and you’ll never be able to lower it.
4. The elevator won’t move if the gate is open. The gate won’t open if the elevator isn’t there. This prevents clumsy people or small children from falling into the shaft.
5. Don’t jump up and down with excitement. You’ll knock the elevator off its track.
As you can see, operating a freight elevator, particularly one this old, is tricky and serious business, business which I have yet to put into practice, because all last week, whenever I tried to encourage someone to put their stuff on it, I got no takers. And I say ‘stuff’ because we’re not allowed to transport passengers in it, only their antiques.
Me: Hey Frank, that looks like a lot of boxes. You can put them on the elevator if you want.
Frank: No, that’s ok. I don’t mind carrying them up.
Me: But the elevator would be more efficient. I can—
Frank: No, I’m good. Hey! Did you tell anyone about that clock?
Me: The one I bought from you three months ago off the loading dock?
Frank: SSSSSHHHHHH!!! We shouldn’t be seen together!
At any rate, I’m biding my time. One day, someone will come along with a table or a large lamp and will need it taken upstairs, and I’ll be right there waiting. And then I’ll get one of the guys to come and open the gate because it’s really heavy and I can’t do that by myself because of my shoulder tendonitis, but once the gate’s up and they’ve loaded the table and they’ve shut the gate for me, I know how to get that table up to the next floor. All by myself.