The average software engineer works on the 3rd floor. Yes, like 87% of all facts in the world, this one is made up too. When the average software engineer goes to work every morning and comes back every evening, he experiences a life of ups and downs. In other words, he takes the elevator.
This elevator is a wonderful invention, really. It takes you up and then down, all on the click of a button. When buildings rise, elevators become paramount. Imagine climbing a seven storey building. Ok, dont. You get the point. Well, this elevator ride leads itself to some wonderful insight into life.
I work on the seventh floor, incidentally, the highest one in my building. I have had the chance to observe people on the elevator and have been absolutely fascinated by the results. Here, I chronicle some of my findings:
This particular species acts as the lift operator in the absence of a real lift operator. Most companies do not have a designated lift operator. Hence, he is THE ONE. He is the one who closely guards the control panel of the mothership and takes implicit charge of the buttons on the panel. He herds his flock into the lift, looks around expectantly to see if anyone stuck in the crowd has missed pressing the button they need to and does the needful. He also is in charge of the fan switch. He puts the fan on if he deems fit to and if the liftman is environmentally conscious, he does what is best for the Earth. He figures that people can go without the comforts of a fan for a couple of minutes and hence does not turn it on. In case of the unlikely event of a break-down, the liftman takes moral responsibility and tenders his resignation to the board of directors. These are very rare and are generally confined to one per elevator.
The Wall Hugger
This species is a remnant of the Chipko movement. He has a single-point agenda in his mind when he enters the elevator. SIEZE THE WALL. The wall of choice is generally the back wall but in case of unavailability, he settles for the sides. His mind works in strange ways really. In his mind, in order that the balance of weight be maintained, he has to be the counterweight that balances the weight of the people who stand centrally. Physics lies central to his thinking. The walls are his birthright and he shall have them. Pink Floyd is his band of choice with him being another brick on the wall. The wall hugger has a modus operandi that involves the clear cut search for a space that is close to the walls of the elevator. He darts in,pushes people off along the way, gets his place, and then apologizes for the inconvenience caused. The wall huggers also have some among their species who are not the hardcore physicists but are rather just purely too lazy to stand without support for the 2 minute elevator ride. This class of the species do not mind not getting the wall but given a choice, would want to lean against it.
Now, if you’ve ever been a student who has used public transport ( read bus ) for travel in the peak hour traffic, chances are that you have, at some time in the past, been a footboarder. A footboarder is basically the one who travels on the footboard of the bus. The footboard is that mass of wood/steel that is designated to be the last step on the small flight of stairs that leads into the bus. The footboarder uses every part of his body – arms, legs, teeth, tongue – to get a grip of some part of the bus lest they be left behind. Most students who are footboarders become so familiar with this mode of travel that even if a bus is empty, they instinctively still confine themselves to the footboard. These are the people who continue the habit in offices. Footboarders are the ‘dwarapals’ or the gate-keepers. Most of the footboarders tend to be journeymen. They tend to be ones that get off at the higher floors. In spite of this, they insist on standing at the gates, enetering and exiting at every floor to let people out. People of this species are generally found to be very nostalgic and hence relive their student years in this small way. Also, they tend to be men of valor who stand facing the doors with their chests swollen in pride and arms folded in readiness. They also act as the custodians of the safety of all the elevator folk.
This species has a very peculiar body structure. All their bones are lazy bones. They can’t be arsed to climb up one flight of stairs. They must, and I repeat, must use the elevator. A flight of stairs consists, on an average, of 15 steps. To climb up the 15 steps takes about 25 seconds. Take into account the landing between 2 adjacent flights of stairs and the general effort involved, the average time taken is estimated to be 35 seconds. Also, since this is pretty much the only exercise that most of the people do, it is pretty good for health too. Yet, this species is typically apathetic to these views on health and fitness. They prefer to wait in the lobby for a whole 5 minutes for the elevator to come. Clearly, time is not of essence for these folks. Another peculiar quality that these people have is the compulsion to get into the elevator first and thereby occupying the back. Now, this in itself is not something wrong but then what ensues is that when their stop arrives (the first stop, of course), they invariably lead to people having to move uneasily in the elevator in order that these people can get out. Not only does it lead to a lot of uneasiness and general irritation among the co-passengers, it also leads to the Lift Man being called into action to use all his powers inorder to re-establish order in chaos. However, these people do find supporters in the footboarders, who just love any excuse to get in and out.