Every once in a while, I have moments where I take an unhealthy delight in watching other people do something dumb. I know I should help them, but something inside me takes over and forces me to become an observer. I don’t often wear my emotions on my sleeve, making it pretty easy for me to appear to ignore everything around me.
My client is in a government office building. I’ve been there a few weeks now. I work on the fourth floor, and I take the elevator every day. I’ve never thought of an elevator as being something terribly difficult to operate. Inside the elevator, there’s a panel with buttons for each floor. Just like every other elevator I’ve ever been in. Each floor is numbered with a black, immovable piece of hard plastic. Next to each floor number is a two-inch round stainless steel button with a small lightbulb inside it. If you push the button for your floor, the lightbulb illuminates. The buttons inside the elevator look exactly like the buttons outside the elevator, the ones you used to call the elevator to begin with.
At least once every day, someone boards the elevator and pushes the black piece of plastic for the third floor, instead of the button. I know I should stop and point out the mistake, but I don’t. I say nothing. We arrive at the fourth floor. My co-passenger wonders aloud why the elevator didn’t stop at his floor. I pretend I don’t hear him and get out. The door shuts behind me. Then I laugh all the way to my desk, wondering how many times he’ll go between the fourth floor and the lobby before he notices those big shiny glowing silver buttons.
Does this make me a bad person?
The other question that crosses my mind every time this happens is: Why are these characters always heading for the third floor? How come nobody ever pushes the black piece of plastic for the second floor? I need to know what’s on the third floor that’s causing so many people to take what appears to be their first trip in an elevator. Maybe they’re giving away money? Like I said, it’s a government office building …