Monday, June 15, 2009

Tales from an Elevator

I spend a lot of time in elevators. As a drug rep in Los Angeles, I ride up and down huge medical towers in search of doctors who have time to talk between patients. I've seen celebrities, politicians, sick people, new mothers, dead bodies, delivery people and plenty of caterers. I have been stuck on two separate elevators. I know every maintenance man in every building, I recognize frequent flyers and I always hold the doors open for little old ladies trying to get on at the last minute. I feel very comfortable in this weird little microcosm and I see myself as a bit of a concierge.

Today, I'd like to share a few of my adventures with you.

1. Starr Gazing

One time I was at the top of a building waiting to get on. The doors opened and Ringo Starr was standing there with Barbara Bach. My knees locked and I almost didn't get on.


Sorry, but it's not every day you get to ride fourteen floors with a living legend. I pulled myself together and got on, giving them a nod. They knew I knew them.

I stood there, not staring at him in the mirrored wall. He started fumbling with the buttons and obviously didn't know what he was doing. When I asked if he needed help, (Yes, I initiated conversation with a Beatle about elevator buttons. I'm the concierge, damn it!) he said he couldn't remember where he left the car. I helped him out and he was very gracious about the whole thing.

As we rode, he looked down at my rolling cart full of samples. "Now, what do you do?"

"I'm a drug dealer." He looked me over and gave me a Ringo smile. You know the one.

"I could use a guy like you," he said. Then we both laughed. There was more to the conversation, but that's between me and Ringo.

2. Love in an Elevator

People get frisky in elevators. I blame that Aerosmith song, that Sharon Stone movie and just about every trashy romance novel ever written. There's something sexy about a private place in public, not unlike department store dressing rooms, and it makes people touch each other.

A few weeks ago, I got onto an elevator with about five floors to go. The smell hit me first. I'm not trying to be insensitive, it's just that sex has a certain odor and I was swimming in it. I looked over at the worming couple to my right only to find them with tongues down throats and hands down pants. There was some mutual masturbation happening not three feet from me and the door had just closed.


You're probably thinking you would've said something or gotten off (stop it) as soon as possible. Maybe you would've, but I didn't. There was a certain sweet immediacy to the scene and I couldn't help but feel a little jealous of them, if only for a moment. Also, they were a damn fine looking couple. To be more accurate, they were a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement come to shimmering life, so it's not like I was looking for the eye bleach. When I got off on my floor, they didn't even notice.

Now I think I'm pregnant.

(I have something to say to you elevator sex people: there are cameras. Unless, of course, that adds to the allure for you, then there are no cameras but many strains of bacteria. Knock it off and spend some quality time at home, where there are disinfectants, drapes and lockable doors to contain your passion. Unless you're a young, gorgeous couple in the throes of barely concealed foreplay, then by all means carry on.)

3. Did that Just Happen?

Last week I was at Cedars Sinai riding the elevators. I pushed my button and wedged myself into the back corner as the rest of the car filled up. A man in his mid-sixties got on, but only halfway. The door closed on his elbow and then reopened.

"Sorry about that, little elevator," he said, patting the stainless steel door as it closed again. A few of us exchanged glances. He chuckled. "Uh-oh. I'm hungry and talkin' to the elevator."

The quickest way to win over any elevator crowd is to whine about being tired, being hungry or the weather. Everybody in the car smiled, all of us feeling the drain of the day.

The young woman in front of me said, "Here, have a taco," before pulling one out of her purse and handing it to him.

Hold on a minute.

I'm not talking about an individually wrapped, soft taco from Taco Bell. I'm talking about a homemade, hard shell taco with ground beef, crisp lettuce, sour cream and perky tomatoes. It was wrapped in a paper towel and it looked friggin' AWESOME.

"You don't mind?" She shook her head, smiling. "Please."

He looked it over and then ate it as the elevator beeped at every new floor. A few of us exchanged glances again. I looked down at the purse. Looked pretty empty, but you never know.

"I like ice cream," I said.

Scary-ass PSA

If I had seen this as a child I would still be having nightmares.