Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Going down

And speaking of the illusion of control, check out the "destination elevator." You select a floor from a central pad in the lobby, and the pad tells you which elevator goes there.

So far so good.

But here's the kicker: Once you get inside the thing, you discover there are no buttons. No changing your mind, no getting off, no way out, no ... freaking ... buttons.

Listed among The New York Times 6th Annual Year in Ideas, it's supposed to be a more efficient way to get where you're going. Which I'm sure it is, assuming your destination is the Twilight Zone.

Look, guys, I don't care if it is faster. I want the damn buttons. When you're sealed in a tiny, locked box suspended hundreds of feet off the ground inside a dark shaft, held up by who-the-hell-knows-what, you want some damn buttons. Even nonfunctional buttons, I don't care. Just something, OK?

In fact, what I really want is Maggie the Elevator Operator, the actual human who used to push the damn buttons for me.

But what do we get instead? Well, when they rolled this thing out in the Ameritech building in Indianapolis, we got operating instructions from a gang of mimes. Because when you're trapped in a lobby among a few hundred other confused, annoyed or outright angry people, there's nothing quite so comforting as being put into the little box by a mime.

All new buildings in New York will have these smart elevators installed. It's the wave of the future. Powerlessness. Confinement. Mimes.

1 comment:

Bon & Mal Mott said...

Um. Mimes. It takes a special person to become a mime, and it takes an even more special person to tolerate a mime.
As for buttonless elevators, it may be the wave of the future, but we don't have to ride it.
Thank the Lord.
Bonnie & Walt