Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lead Paint (Elevator Emptiness)

This building houses 264 residences. There are 12 floors and 2 elevators. Since many of the apartments are also businesses, there's a lot more traffic, a lot more coming and going, than your average apartment; and those elevators are rarely idle from early morning until late at night.

I live on the sixth floor with Legs, the love of my life. We both smoke (I far more than her), but even before we moved in we agreed we wouldn't smoke in the apartment. That rule was soon amended to "We can only smoke here if we have guests," and not long after further revised to "And on Friday and Saturday." For the four months that we've been living here, I've heeded the no-smoking rule...except when Legs is at work, I mean, and at which times I smoke like a fiend. When Legs is around, however, and it is neither Friday nor Saturday, nor are there any guests, I have to go outside the apartment to satisfy my nasty addiction to nicotine.

When we first moved in, I would take the elevator down to the first floor and smoke in the aboveground parking lot. Wait, that's inaccurate. I started smoking in the parking lot after the management posted signs that smoking wasn't permitted in the windowless stairwell. I adhered, Legs didn't. I prefer, perhaps ironically, some fresh air while I smoke, and she just don't give a fuck. Also, I have this thing about authority. I don't like breaking rules. Not usually, anyway. So when I was banished from smoking in the stairwell, I started smoking in the parking lot. Take the elevator from the sixth floor to the first, smoke a square, and then take the elevator from the first floor to the sixth. Easy money.

Not really, though, because waiting for the elevator is trying. The management here switches the two elevators' logistics seemingly on a whim, and while one elevator sits idle on, say, the second floor, people waiting to go up or down are left to wait for the other one. The pattern changes every few weeks or so, and, as far as I can discern, there's no rhyme or reason to any given pattern, only that it takes too fucking long to catch an elevator.

I stopped smoking in the parking lot a few months ago when I learned that this fucker has a thirteenth floor. Dig. Quieter than carbon monoxide poisoning, the thirteenth-floor roof is a paradise. It has a spectacular view of the area, nice flora, benches...hell, even surgical trays as makeshift ashtrays. Thing is, instead of going down four floors, I have to go up seven, and I've learned that people get positively pissed when the elevator has to stop for some asshole coming down from or going up to the thirteenth floor. Because, as mentioned, the elevators here are a bitch. Word to my ex-wife.

When you smoke as much as I do (you might actually smoke more, but definitely not as handsomely), you are always trying to find the perfect, most aesthetically pleasing place in which to stave off your abject reliance on tobacco. The thirteenth floor is my Xanadu in that regard (I can throw all manner of refuse -- banana peels, pizza boxes, water balloons -- down upon unsuspecting masses); but -- word to Tommy Carcetti -- I'm also a man of the people, and I cannot rationalize my flagrant elevator behavior. I will, therefore, limit my trips up to the thirteenth floor to twice, perhaps thrice, a day. Babies smile, Spike Lee wins an Oscar.

This was so much easier when I could just do whatever I wanted. I miss being an infant.

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