• Mike Hoffey

Love in an Elevator


Steven Tyler must have had an interesting experience to translate an elevator ride into a hit song off the 'Nine Lives' album from 1989. However, I don't live an amazing life. Thus, I digress. Even though I want to be Steven Tyler.


When COVID-19 hit us all, like getting stuck in an elevator, we were stymied. Things changed. Our world got different. We learned a new phrase, 'social distancing.' I was intrigued. The media slammed it into our brains what this all meant. Six feet apart. Your breath is their breath. Don't sneeze. Don't cough. If you do, we will all KNOW that you have COVID, back then known as the Wuhan Flu or the China Flu. These were things I had never ever thought about in my life, a global pandemic, until this year.


Have Plane Will Travel


I spoke to a pilot. He explained the recirculation of air while stuck in a tube capsule for 10 hours. Not good. I asked him how they injected (the right word?) fresh air into our seating area of 300 people flying from Chicago to Shanghai. Well. Now I know. It's not what you were thinking. Reconstituted air. Bad. So, I decided to take two years off from flying. If I could drive, I'd do it. I wasn't, as millions of people have already figured out, flying at any cost. Fuck it.


My Own Space


In college psychology, back in the day, my prof taught me the concept of 'personal space.' It's a real deal. Invasiveness. Someone entering my space. It's technically described as the make-believe bubble around you, we all have it. When infiltrated, you are uncomfortable, apprehensive, curious. This isn't sex. It's a stranger. Rubbing against your shoulder. For a half-second. Invading my personal space.

This demarcation circumference technically, by psychological references, was two feet. Maybe less. Don't remember. Look it up. So, if someone got in your grill at 6 inches, you were violated. Backing out, you were silently asking for your space back. Think about today. Six feet? That's too much. A radical shift. We were just trying to figure out elevator spacing and now you widen out the personal space circumference by four feet? We as humans can't deal with this new world order. Sorry.


The Elevator


Our college professor often used the analogy of an elevator. You enter on the ground floor with two other people. Entering, you squeeze in, making short, required eye contact. Find your spot. Distances are assumed.

Wait. Hey, someone enters. Readjustment time. So, you move. Four inches. They're in. Push the button. I reach my floor, say 'excuse me' and bump shoulders with two people as I exit. it's a right of passage. No big deal.


Tree It!


Remember the good old days? They are gone. Our corporate elevator is manned by an armed guard. Everyone and I mean everyone, rides alone. It's kind of a free, but shitty first-class experience. 'What floor are you going to? Are you stopping at any floor on your way up, or down? OK, sir. You can enter.' Forget eye contact. This sucks. You make it, everyone is good, no one died of COVID.


Push a button? Don't even think about it. That's the $15 an hour security guard's job. Plastic gloves on. Eyes dancing all over the place. 'Hey, don't push any buttons! That's what I'm being paid for.' He lets a day laborer from Guatemala in to sanitize the buttons. The same ones my kids used to prank the elevator with to stop on every floor. We called it "tree it!' Like a Christmas tree. When no one was looking. Good times. My, how times have changed. I want to go back there. How about you?