An ode to the broken elevator in my dorm

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If you’ve lived in the dorms — specifically in Units 1, 2 or 3— you’ve probably experienced your elevator breaking down at some point. Whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks, the amount of time during which your elevator is broken is one of the most painful times of your life: Your calves won’t stop burning, you live in constant fear of running into people in the tight turns of the stairwell and doing laundry is infinitely more difficult than it usually is. But the things we tend to miss the most are the precious moments we experience during every elevator ride.

Elevator rides offer so many unbeatably uncomfortable experiences, most of which occur in the first few seconds. We start with the awkward shuffle to enter the elevator. You have to find a spot that’s not touching anyone, make sure you’re not directly facing the person next to you and ensure your backpack isn’t in anyone’s way. 

Once you’re situated, we reach all the joys of the buttons. When you’re the one to press the button, you’re never sure if you should ask the others what button they need pressed. On the other hand, if you’re not in a position to press the button, you have to ask someone to do it for you. Or you can just give up, ride to the nearest stop and take the stairs. Then there’s the phenomenon with the “door open” button. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the doors closing as someone else opens the door to the lobby. As an elevator rider, this puts you in an awkward position: You don’t know if they need the elevator to be held or not. Even if they do, it’s so hard to find the “door open” button that by the time you do, it’s too late, and the doors have closed. In my experience, it’s extremely rare when you manage to correctly judge if they need the elevator held and are actually able to do that for them.

After everyone’s situated in the elevator, and the doors have shut, there comes the joy of riding the elevator. The uncomfortable silence that envelops the space the second the doors shut. The shared confusion at the person who gets off at the first floor. The moment of panic when you reach your floor and realize you have to push past three layers of people to get out. The list goes on and on.

At the end of the day, nothing compares to a good ol’ elevator ride in the dorms, and this is why every time it breaks down, we have to take a moment to remember exactly why we miss it so much.

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].