Elevator Confessions

July 4, 2012 § 2 Comments


The other day, I was riding the elevator in the City Centre Mall parkade with a bored-looking corporate guy, a momma and her babe in stroller.

When a baby is aboard the rules of elevator-riding etiquette and politesse go out the window – or shaft, I guess. We can all break from our dull, safe routine of avoiding eye contact by staring, alternatively, at the lit pressed buttons then up at the ascending or descending numbers.

Unbound by social convention, babies stare wide-eyed with wonder at anyone and anything, and it frees the rest of us to stare back. So we did.

The space between strangers dissolved, just like that, even as the elevator confines grew expansive. As I looked and looked at that child’s celestine eyes, my breath caught in my throat, and the mundane of my day evaporated into pure marvel and wonder at Life, itself.

The only thing better than riding the elevator alone without any unwanted stops before your floor, is breaking the barrier: making a real connection with someone in an unexpected place – sharing a smile, laugh or exchange that snaps you out of your head and ejects you back into the pounding heart center of the eternal moment; reminding you of the Truth: we are all spiritual beings who are having a human experience – one that is too often stressful, lonely, and punctuated with suffering.

We stopped on the sixth floor, and mother and child disembarked, as Mr. Suit and I made eye contact and smiled. The doors closed.

“Cute kid.”

“So sweet.”

Pause. 

“If I could be that young again, I would do it all different,” he confessed, so simply. I didn’t even have time to respond. What would I have said?

The doors slid open on the eighth floor and a second later he was gone. I wondered for a moment about his regrets, and whether he’d find the courage to change his life if he wasn’t happy. And whether he had real friends to talk to, or sought regular catharsis in downtown elevators.

It’s not a bad idea, given how many elevators there must be in the Greater Edmonton area. And it’s free. And weird and wacky in a kinda beautiful way. Whichever floors he’s travelling in between, I hope that he finds peace. We all deserve it.

Babies are shooting stars, full moons, spontaneous peace treaties that sidestep darkness and demons with pure light and angel dust. They come from beyond, carrying traces of the unseen on their delicate wings, so that we may all remember: this home away from Home, which we mistake for shelter, can be a long, pitch-black night out in the cold or every living beings’ blessed eternal sanctuary. If we will only bow and Enter.

And elevators are great inventions. They are not merely modes of speedy vertical travel for busy humans, but chambers of communion and therapeutic offloading; portals to places even John Malkovich would covet. Let’s enjoy the ride.

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§ 2 Responses to Elevator Confessions

  • Peter says:

    When Dave, my brother, was at Waterloo, he and a friend once set up a bistro inside the student centre elevator. They had a small table, checkered table cloth, wine glasses, and wine. They offered a glass to anyone who got on. Most accepted.

    They finally had to end the experiment when people stopped getting off the elevator, but just went up and down with them, drinking happily.

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