I live in a twenty-five-story condominium on the twenty fourth floor. That means that every time I leave my apartment for any reason, I must call the elevator and wait for its arrival. Sometimes I’m lucky and it’s only a few floors away. Other times, I must wait for the lift to ascend from the parking garage which takes 45 seconds. …1.5 minutes per round trip. When I calculate that I use the elevator a minimum of twelve times a day (6 roundtrip rides), I realize I spend 9 minutes a day in that confined space. Over the course of a week, that’s 63 minutes…over a month that’s 1890 minutes or 31.5 hours. Therefore, over a year I minimally spend 378 hours in my elevator. Oh, my goodness! With my “A” type personality, that’s a lot of unproductive time…or is it?

Although I didn’t realize the exact amount of time I spent riding up and down the elevators… to get the mail, to take the dry cleaning to the front desk, to visit friends or attend a condo meeting, as well as the many occasions when I leave the building to run errands or to shop, I am literally flabbergasted at the number of hours this takes up in my life.

I have found ways to pass the time. When returning from the gym, I do stretches in the elevator. When going out to dinner I often use the time to apply my lipstick in front of the mirrored walls and fluff my hair. I sometimes sort through the bills while riding up from the mail room and have the junk advertisements ready to discard. On occasion, I practice taking deep yoga breaths to relax or practice shoulder rolls to loosen tight muscles. But no matter what I do, being in the elevator for that much time over the course of a month or year is a colossal waste of time.

For security purposes, there are cameras mounted in the elevators so that the front desk personnel can see what’s going on. That limits what one can safely do in there. When you know you are constantly being observed, your behavior is modified. I would not want to be seen making weird faces, scratching unseemly places or beginning to disrobe. And, when another resident gets on at a different floor, that throws off my whole-time equation and my behavior. The extra stop(s) adds more minutes to my ride and I feel obligated to make “elevator small talk” always ending with “Have a good day.” It’s a stupid phrase. Who would wish someone an awful day? None-the-less, it’s the inevitable elevator farewell, repeated time and time again.

The alternative of course is to take the stairs, but at my age, a 24 flight walk up is impossible. So, being a practical person, I must accept this loss of time in my life and try to think of more things I can do in the elevator. Any ideas?

Until my next inspiration…ciao.


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