Sunday, May 6, 2012

Past Deadline: Dearth 'Vator

Sometimes you’ve just got to roll with it.

As I mentioned last week, I was at a conference recently. Nice hotel – confusing literature.

Anyway, the hotel has close to 500 rooms on 24 floors. It caters to executive meetings, conferences and weddings, all of which are served by four elevators. One was out of service.

I don’t know how things are when all four elevators are operational, but during my stay it was busy. There was at least one other conference at the same time as ours.

I guessed early on I would be spending a goodly amount of time waiting. When I arrived the lobby was hopping, and there was a nice uniformed fellow chatting with the guests while we waited for the dearth of ’vators.

I’m not sure if they always have someone on button duty; he may have been there to appease guests. We chatted, and as I stepped onto the elevator he gave me his manager’s card “in case I had any trouble.”

Hm. That can’t be good, can it?

There was still time to get my registration package before the welcoming event, so I spent only a few minutes in my room on the 12th floor before returning to the elevators. A crowd was gathering.

Two minutes passed. Five. Seven. And when a ’vator finally did arrive, we packed in like sardines.

“Oooh, my husband would not like this at all,” I commented to my very close companions as we stopped at every floor on the way down. Groom-boy is a tad claustrophobic.

Despite leaving in good time, I managed to arrive just as the registration desk was closing.

This elevator initiation taught me right off the bat to plan ahead. If I had to be at a certain place by a certain time, I knew that leaving 15 or 20 minutes early would get me there. And we’re talking about meetings within the hotel.

I also learned that once I was down in the meeting area, I should probably avoid returning to my room until the end of the day so as to not miss anything.

The elevators became a bit of a discussion point amongst the conference attendees. Several of us learned, after waiting and waiting only to be greeted by full elevators again and again, that one strategy was to get on any elevator that had room, even if it was going the wrong way. Sometimes riding all the way to the top floor before descending to our meetings was faster than waiting just to go down – at least from the 12th-floor starting point.

There was lots of information sharing amongst the conference attendees about the situation. We heard all kinds of stories about wait times. We alerted others to the service elevators, which we were allowed to use during certain “peak” times.

I thought about taking the stairs several times, at least going down, even though I have a wonky foot. Others had tried this, though, and discovered they couldn’t always gain access to some floors once in the stairwells. There were signs indicating alarms would ring if exit doors were pushed, so I opted to avoid this scenario.

Ironically, once one did gain access to an elevator, there were advertisements on the doors that you could borrow running shoes and go for a run. I wonder if they meant to run the stairs?

I’m not nervous about elevators, but I did find these ones to be a hair-curling experience. That’s because we were often packed in nice and tight, which made things humid. I have naturally curly hair, so I’d emerge curlier than I was when I left my room. This wasn’t my goal.

The whole thing gave us a good chance to meet people and make friends, though. On one excursion I met a couple who knew a family who lived on my street here in Perth when I was growing up. We exchanged cards and had lots of time to chat while we waited. And waited. And waited.

See? The dearth of ’vators was actually quite a nice social experience. That’s rolling with it.

Published in The Perth Courier, May 3/12

No comments: