• Seth Van Camp

To the Resident in My Building who Takes the Elevator from Floor 1 to Floor 2 (4 Min Read)

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

The world is full of evil. People who say malk instead of milk. Those who leave restaurants with their salt shakers unscrewed as a trap for their next victim. Individuals who brush their teeth without watering their toothbrush first. But none are more destructive to our way of life than the “1 Floor Rider.” As you can imagine, the "1 Floor Rider" is a person who takes the elevator for only one floor with others present, neglecting to take the stairs out of pure laziness and selfishness. They are the scum of the earth.

I moved into an apartment building in Edmonton about seven months ago. It was so long ago. I was full of hope and joy, but I was young and ignorant to the darkness that lurked behind every (elevator) door. I still remember the first time it happened. I had been in my building for a week. I walked into an empty elevator on the main floor. I pressed '11.' As the elevator door began to close, I heard a frantic “can you hold that?!” come from a woman around the corner. I heard the clack of her shoes on the tile communicate her jog to the elevator. Similar to the stealth and agility of a puma, I stuck my hand through the remaining space in the door. The response of an enigmatic ping of the lift confirmed my speed as the door opened back up. Feeling like a hero, I took a step back to welcome the young woman into the elevator to join the comradery and celebrate my kindness. I thought I had developed some repour with the woman now, being her saviour and all, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I said, “What floor?” I never saw it coming. “Two” she responded. I was filled with fright and confusion. At first, I stood there with a blank look on my face. After a second or two, my face began to contort until it looked my eyes were trying to retreat back into my head, but instead were being pushed forward like some nerd in a nerd circle. I fought the urge, but it was unstoppable. My 'are you fucking serious' eyebrow (my right one) began to ascend to its highest point on my forehead. My finger slowly went forward and pushed the second floor button as I begrudgingly yet nervously whimpered “okay?”

There is no doubt in my mind when I say that this was the longest 15 seconds of my life. I went through all five stages of grief, twice. But instead of ending on acceptance, my brain created this 6th stage called “What the fuck?” When the doors finally glided open after what seemed like a fort-night, the young woman bounded out, almost in a skipping sort of fashion, while saying “have a good evening!” I had never heard a more absurd thing in my life. It was like receiving a hug, but from a person who was on fire. It was like playing paintball, but instead of being shot with paintballs, it was actually just bullets. It was like saying ‘yea, we should do this again’ after a shitty date.

I managed to squeak out nothing more than “alright” in a higher pitched voice than usual. I spent the next nine floors reflecting on what happened. My subconscious immediately leapt to the forefront of my mind. ‘Hey, she probably has an injury or something like that. You never know what’s going on with someone else’s life. Maybe she was going to a friend’s floor or maybe her bag was really heavy. You just don’t know.’ I then felt a wave of guilt about judging this woman hit me. I didn’t know her plight. I didn’t know her struggle. All I knew was that she took the elevator from 1 to 2. I moved on with my life, like I should have. Until the next day.

The same situation befalls us once more, like destiny. I, in the elevator by myself after work, and her, just making it on time to take the trip. But this time, I was more observant. I watched her stride and was on the lookout for a limp or any indication of injury so I could relieve my anxiety. It never came. She bounded off the elevator once more on the second floor with a cheerful “see ya later.” Since that moment, I have taken the elevator with this woman probably fifteen times. She has gotten off on the second floor 15/15 times. Sometimes, she even takes the trip from 1 to 2 with an elevator full of people. I've seen her come in after a run outside. She is consciously making the choice to do this to us. I know, what a flaming pile of garbage. She haunts our building like a specter. It takes a special type of person to reach this level of unaware pettiness. Don’t be like this woman. Take the stairs. So, I say this to those who continue to make the decision to become a “1 Floor Rider” without any just reason:

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you stop taking the elevator now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.

I still to this day can’t escape the 6th phase.