An Uplifting Experience - Barry Hill

had the pleasure of going to a large hotel recently.  With dog in hand and an independent streak a mile wide, I soon started to explore on my own.  Ok, when I say ‘explore’ I mean that I soon wanted to find the bar on the ground floor on my own.  


Of course, as we were on the sixth floor, I couldn’t be bothered with the stairs.  Lazy?  You fancy walking down six flights of stairs with your eyes shut?  No?  Shut up then.  So, I wondered down to the end of our corridor, through a couple of fire doors.  So far so good.  My dog found the lift no problem, but finding the button was a bit of a problem.  First, I checked the side pillar of the door.  Nope.  Smooth as.  Next, I tried the wall to the right.  Nope.  Clean as.  Eventually, I found it over to the left on the wall.  There were two buttons, one above the other.  I assumed that one was for up and the other down.  Still, could it be to bring the lift above down and the lift below up?  Licking my lips with anticipation of the imminent drinkie, I hit the bottom button.  


Guide dogs are not specifically trained to find lifts, but they’re clever enough to figure out that a door that has just opened is probably what the idiot at the other end of the harness wants.  


After an hour or two (well, it seemed like it) I heard a ping.  It could be the NHS app, which would be lousy timing, but I suspected that it was the lift.  I told my dog to “Find the lift”.  He turned to look at me as if to say, “Der…. I dunno.”.  What was I saying about them being clever?  I stepped forward only to find the lift door still shut and a great absence of lift.  What did I say about the idiot at the other end of the harness?  By the time I had figured out that there was more than one lift, the open lift over to my right was open no more.  Bugger.  I hit the button several times because we all know that the more you hit it the more likely the lift will come quicker.


Almost straight away, I heard a ping.  Either someone’s coffee was warm, or another lift had arrived, or the same lift.  I quickly checked the one I was in front of.  No.  So, I quickly checked the other one.  No.  Then I heard “Lift going down” from a third liftas its doors were closing.  There were three damned lifts!  Just how busy does a hotel have to be to warrant three damn lifts?


When I’m in a stressful situation, I like to ask myself how a hero of mine would handle it.  Try it.  It works remarkably well if you choose the right hero.  Some people go for Superman, some for Jesus, and some for the Dali Llama.  However, if you’re a fan of certain movies, I urge you not to go for Arnie in The Terminator.  


Me?  “Ok,” I said, “how would Bugs Bunny handle this?”  Seriously, Bugs Bunny is one of my heroes.  I only know of one occasion when he came unstuck, and he’s so cool he should come with a frost warning.


The Bugs Bunny in me came to the decision to press the button once, then to stand in front of the lift door that hadn’t yet opened, which happened to be the first one I was at.  Brilliant, eh?  Nope.  The first lift that came came again.  Bugs Bunny suggested that that one might be booby-trapped, so I waited until the doors shut and coolly pressed the button again… and the booby-trapped lift doors opened again.  I made a frantic and uncool dash for it and just got my arm in before it shut.  Boy, I was looking forward to that drink.


Right, now I’m in the lift, I feel for and find the bank of buttons.  There are two columns of six buttons.  Ok, twelve floors, but how many are basement?  Hold on, there’s probably a ‘Door open’ and ‘alarm’ buttons.  Fine.  There are ten floors.  I can figure this out logically.


I couldn’t figure it out logically.  Do the numbers go in order up the column or odd numbers up one column and even up the other column?  Are the alarm and open-door buttons at the bottom or the top?  Just how many basements are there?  I erred on caution and worked on the alarm and door open buttons being on the bottom and there being two basement floors.  I hit the third button up on the left column and off we jolly well went.  


The doors opened onto a completely silent floor.  You can tell the difference between a ground floor and the other floors.  So, I figured that I was on the second floor and needed to hit the button below it.  


With the confidence of knowing that I had it right this time, I calmly pressed the right button.  The lift went up.  WTF!  That carrot juice (vodka and tonic really) was going to taste nice.


It took me a second or two to figure out that someone else had called the lift.  Well, at least they’ll be able to tell me which button to press for the ground floor.  The lift went up to the 97thfloor (so it felt) and a couple got in… a Chinese couple… speaking Chinese.  Of course, it could have been a Japanese or Vietnamese couple.  They were speaking east Asian and not with an English accent.  


Ever the optimist despite recent contrary evidence to such, I asked them to press the Ground floor.  “No English” was the reply.  Still, chances were that they were going to the ground floor themselves.  Fingers crossed.  That’s going to be a large carrot juice, me thinks.


Where did we go?  Yup, you’ve guessed it.  We went to the basement carpark.  Thankfully, the gent figured out that I wasn’t looking for my car and, saying something unintelligible to me, he pressed a button before getting out of the lift.  It was the ground floor button.  Sigh.  Once there, the bar was easy to find.  Well, reception was easy, and the lovely woman behind it eagerly helped me to the bar.  I must have looked like I needed that very large carrot juice.  


Are you curious as to how I was going to find the sixth floor again when I’m fresh?  I walked up the stairs and counted the floors.  Yeah, right.  If you believe that, can I interest you in this scheme where an African Prince is trying to move his money to England?  I asked the nice receptionist to press the button for the sixth floor.


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