MARTA Moments

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.  

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People with disabilities have the right to be independent, make decisions for themselves, have access to their community and to achieved goals in life like any other individual. disABILITY LINK is committed to promoting the rights of ALL people with disabilities.
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