Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Thing About Lifts, Or In The UAE, Elevators.

(Photo credit: Jose R. Borras)
I try not to post too much about lifts (or elevators if you hail from the Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave) just in case I start getting press releases from Express Lifts and the like, but they really are a unique symptom of the hyper-diverse melting pot that is the United Arab Emirates - that meeting place of the cultural tectonic plates of East and West.

A lot of people here, in the face of copious evidence to the contrary, believe that pressing the 'down' button brings a lift down to you. Not only is this not the case, it also results in you ending up in the basement when you actually wanted to scale the lofty heights of the upper floors. Not unnaturally, having predicted a different outcome to that achieved, you are puzzled. In your understandable disorientation, you neglect to notice that not only has the lift gone in an unexpected direction, it has reset itself. And so you shrug fatalistically and wait for the diversion to be over and the lift to do that which you had originally anticipated.

It is at this point that a second cultural trait plays an important role in proceedings. There is a certain vanity abroad that means any lift fitted with a mirror (and most are mirrored, for some reason. Presumably to alleviate claustrophobia) must immediately be used to admire, stroke and even, whipping out a back-pocketed comb, brush the hair.

And so you find that not only has your lift been diverted to the basement (where you have doubtlessly encountered a rather grumpy looking Englishman who might even, particularly when overdue leave and finding you and many others have actually filled the lift to capacity when it arrives in the basement, ask you quite why you are there) but it then takes you to a completely unexpected floor. You might at this point realise that something is amiss and if you don't take some sort of remedial action you might even die of thirst in there. And so you press the button of the floor you want to go to.

Sadly, however, you're already on the way down and someone else has pressed the 'down' button on the ground floor in order to call the lift. In the basement once more, you will begin - understandably - to be alarmed. You could be in there for days. You dash out and, with a sense of relief, take the stairs - shaking your head at the wonderment of encountering yet another badly programmed lift button.

And that, for the benefit of attendees to The Umbrella Series Writing and Publishing Workshops being held at The Archive in Safa Park, is an example of the second person point of view in writing. Ha.
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1 comment:

Ghadeer said...

"A lot of people here, in the face of copious evidence to the contrary, believe that pressing the 'down' button brings a lift down to you."

^No way, haha!

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