Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.

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Elevators

By Milt Abel | April 17, 2010

| April 17, 2010

Elevators

On Holland America’s Rotterdam’s stateroom-only decks, the forward elevator lobbies are cubbyholed with a small love-seat that’s placed against a wall. I’ve never seen them used because people are desperate not to be caught napping and miss their elevator, though on Holland America’s smaller ship there isn’t the sense of urgency I’ve seen on the larger ships of other lines. Get on a two thousand-plus passenger ship and miss an elevator and the sense of a relaxing vacation is exchanged for conspiracy theories about machines programed to work against you, or grumbling to yourself that you’re ‘paying too much to take the stairs.’

I know crew members who win their waistline’s fight against unlimited available food by never taking an elevator -on purpose. I don’t have that discipline, and when it is nine stories up to the Boston creme pie, it just doesn’t make sense to me to get all hot and bothered before taking a bite.

Some Princess and Royal Caribbean ships have such expansive elevator lobbies that it takes vigilance to keep an eye and ear open for the arriving lift. The chimes announcing their readiness can be faint, so you have to jump, and dash, like a startled deer, to duck into the elevator before its doors close; otherwise it’s another wait, or the stairs. It’s not unlike a reverse game of wack-the-mole, where you’re the mole and you want to slip into the hole before you get hit with a delay or some exercise. More than once I’ve let my attention drift in these lobbies and turned back to see that I’m suddenly alone, others who had been waiting with me no longer there, silently they had caught the elevator and decided to leave me behind, the weaker (or less focused) of their species to be naturally de-selected.

In early February of this year I worked a once-a-month gig in a nice restaurant in Placerville, California, a place called Sequoia. It was a lovely restaurant and pulled in a great audience that filled its 200 seat, nicely decorated, banquet room. They put me up for the night in a downtown historic hotel called The Cary House. I was informed it had the second oldest elevator west of Mississippi, too bad it was their only elevator. This museum piece never failed to not match the elevation of the floor; when I was loading my luggage I had to lift it the five inches onto the elevator’s floor and when I got off on the second floor it missed the height again, and again not in my favor, I had to lift my luggage another several inches to get its wheels onto the hallway. The same bad luck, not being able to just roll my luggage off the small ledge both getting in and out, the next morning. Add to this the older ‘safety’ door of a spring-loaded gate that constantly pinched you in, slapping you, as you stevedored you belonging on and off the elevated loading dock. I discovered elevators can be a lot like spoiled, bitter old men: cranky and uncooperative. I hope as I get older I become more like stairs, passive and quietly helpful.

Topics: comedy, cruise ship, humor, travel | No Comments »

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