How to kill an elevator

You'd be tired too if you climbed the stairs a hundred time a day.The building I work in was originally built by Hewlett-Packard Company as a multi-purpose building:  it could be used as office space, or it could be used as manufacturing.  To allow use for manufacturing, there were some differences in the architecture from a standard office building:  the floors were much more substantial (to accommodate manufacturing equipment) and the ceilings were much higher (I’m guessing 15 feet or more).

One result of this is that although I work on the second floor, you have to climb two flights of stairs to get there, roughly equivalent to going up to the third floor.  For moving people, equipment, and supplies to the second floor, there were two large, heavy-duty elevators at each end of the building.  In the over 25 years I’ve worked here, I think I’ve taken the elevator may a couple dozen times, usually when I’m moving some equipment between floors.  But I probably go up and down between floors at least a dozen times a day:  going to meetings, to the cafeteria, to the credit union, and so forth.  I always take the stairs; I never take the elevator.  Almost none of the people I work with do either.

Since the company I work for doesn’t occupy the entire building, we decided to lease out half of the second floor to another company.  Because the building wasn’t designed to be subdivided, we have this awkward arrangement where we have their space, our space, and shared space.  One of these shared spaces is a stairwell and an elevator.

The company that leased the space employs mostly younger people:  I would guess that the vast majority are younger than 30.  This is in contrast to the people I work with, most of whom I would guess are 40 or older.

This leads to a curious situation:  the kids (well, they look like kids to me!) from the other company almost always take the elevator.  Often a group of three or four of us middle-aged guys will arrive in the shared space at the same time as three or four of the kids; while we head for the stairs, they head for the elevator.  I find it ironic that we’ll traverse the stairs to the second floor, at the same time as the kids, who should literally be able run circles around us, will take the elevator.

Well, the elevator wasn’t happy about this.  When the other company moved in it went from ten to twenty trips between floors each day, to a hundred or more trips.  After several months it had had enough and started getting stuck between floors.  It’s now out of commission for the foreseeable future, and kids have joined us middle-aged guys on the stairs.

It’ll do the young whipper-snappers some good.

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