This is for those out there that have to use Marta elevators. Are the elevators in other transit systems this bad?
Moment 1- Keep Your Guard Up
I approach the elevator, feeling around the surrounding area with my cane for any obstacles or things that might trip me up. I see the machine slide into place, the murky fluorescent light flickering from a dirty fixture. As the door slides open my cane instinctively goes up and doesn’t touch the floor. I inhale briefly seeing what awaits me today. Will it be the smell of mothballs? Orange disinfectant? Urine? Or worse? Today is the smell of disinfectant, it lulls you into a sense of comfort. “They cleaned the elevators,” you might think, I relax for a moment. In that foolish moment of comfort I begin to lower my cane, as I do so the flickering light from above reflects off of a puddle that sits in the center of the machine like a vile lake. I know what it is and I curse myself for letting my guard down. When will I learn?
Moment 2- The Smell of Fear
I board the elevator and am immediately struck by how clean it is. The light seems brighter and then I notice that the walls are shiny and free of graffiti and/or bodily fluids. I look past my raised cane to see that the floor is dry and the corrugated metal looks almost new with cleanliness. Then the smell hits me: baby powder. As the doors close and the smell of innocence and antiseptic envelops me I know that someone probably died in this elevator, why else would they go through this much effort? I ascend.
Moment 3- People That Live in Glass Houses . . .
I’m running late and have a sprained ankle. I really don’t want to take the elevator, but the escalator is broken so I hop over to the elevator. As is descends to collect me I know that I can’t avoid touching the floor with the cane. I consider hopping in and just holding the hand rail inside the elevator, this thought is vanquished, however, when I see that it’s covered in (what I hope) is ketchup. The floor is, as usual, covered in a vibrant yellow liquid that I know isn’t Gatorade. Then it strikes me: how did they get away with this? Three of the walls are glass and look out onto the parking lot and bus terminal. I’m both horrified and mildly impressed.
Moment 4- A Flash
The doors slide open, the cane goes up and as I begin to enter I trip over the rolling suitcase of disembarking passenger. I stagger forward quickly losing my balance, I jab my cane into the corner of the elevator to keep from going down. It’s at that moment I realize I have a cane made of graphite, not aluminum and it bends. First, I see the wet floor coming at me and next see my entire life flash before my eyes. Anything that touches this floor without a rubber sole must be cleansed with fire. As I accept the fact that I may have to be cremated my descent is stopped; the cane didn’t snap and I’m able to right myself. Whether it was a divine hand or sturdy construction of the cane I am glad that I wasn’t cursed by that blighted floor.