On our recent whirlwind trip through the east coast, I spent a lot of time on elevators. Granted, I spent less time then when I was stuck in an elevator on a Sunday in an office building. Still, for my life, I spent a lot of time on elevators while we were on the east coast.
Our first elevator was sleek with black mirrors and gold detailing. It slid from floor to floor without any apparent movement. Our next elevator, in a boutique hotel in Washington DC, was small, slower with noticeable movement and sound from floor to floor.
There I was standing in the back of the elevator with our dog. Sometimes she would sit in the corner, other times she would stand. She would wander the sleek elevator sometimes only to jump when it stopped to let someone on. And a variety of people would come on and off the elevators.
One man came on reeking of vodka talking about his dogs. It seems that he has two dogs and he missed them dearly. We imagined that the dogs were at home missing him too. He tearfully left the elevator a few floors before our stop. The smell of alcohol permeated the elevator when he left.
Another woman looked frightened of the dog sitting in the corner in her overcoat. She said nothing but watched at the dog out of the corner of her eye. Our dog was attempting to be polite by ignoring her completely. She was frightened of something that didn't even notice her.
One time, in the older elevator, two German men came on the elevator. They had a conversation in German about the dog then decided to confirm that she was of Hungarian decent. We exited the elevator together and waited behind them at the desk as they changed money. They waved goodbye as they left smiling into the day.
I wondered about the floors we missed. The people and lives that continued on as we flew past them to our floor. We could only meet so many people, only the people who decided to join our elevator at that given moment. Life went on around us as we were only able to notice and focus on our little bit of space and time.
It occurred to me that life is a little like an elevator ride. People come into our lives then leave. We never really know when someone will come on the ride or when they will leave. Some people create memorable interactions while others simply permeate with their smell. People seem to get on and off the ride at their own accord, heading off to their own destinations for their own reasons. We can merely interact with them and wave good bye as they go off smiling into the day.