I Won't Apologise For Defending: The Escalator Over Elevator Edition
Throughout the history of time there have been many great opponents. David vs Goliath. iPhone vs Android. Essendon vs Collingwood. And even, frozen yoghurt vs regular yoghurt. Usually there is a clear victor and a clear agitator, or a superior to inferior hierarchy that can’t be argued with. Other times it’s harder to detect who reigns supreme when the two opponents in question are virtually the same.
This brings us to today’s pairing of ELEVATOR vs ESCALATOR. At a shallow glance the elevator and the escalator are two manmade constructs that conveniently take humanity from point A to point B. However, when inspected more closely it’s easy to see that the escalator is the greater transportive species.
An elevator is a death trap. At least with a mousetrap, mice are coerced into entrapment through the seduction of Jarlsburg. Sadly and stupidly, humans walk into entrapment willingly. They do it for nothing in return, not a wedge of cheese or a Groupon discount. They just casually stroll right through death’s doors without a second thought.
While death can keep even the greatest skeptic entertained with the limitless possibilities of what’s on the ‘other side’, the ‘other side’ of an elevator is less mystical. There is no John Edwards narration connecting you with past loved ones, there is no romantic Sofia Coppola sepia toned filter on everything, and most traumatically the other side of an elevator does not look like the edible set of a Philadelphia cream cheese ad.
Instead an elevator is a cold and barren steel shaped box with fluorescent lighting and mirrored walls. Or in layman’s terms: A vertical, mobile coffin.
In this coffin you are not being laid to rest with a Gregorian chant or rendition of Elvis Presley's 'My Way' bidding you farewell. What you are is a living, breathing target inviting any of the following grievances to be unleashed upon you:
Now if a David Jones’ perfume counter cannot mask humanity’s own eau de toilette (no that wasn’t Justin Bieber’s fragrance you thought you could smell), how is oxygen meant to freely circulate in the airtight confines of an elevator if someone slips one out? Short answer: It doesn’t. Those little flatulence atoms will bounce up and down the walls of the elevator more excitably then an underage tween who smuggled their way into Coachella and is now dancing to Solange. Your nostrils in this instance are the place everyone wants to be, the bar with the free unlimited alcohol.
Escalator Pro: Unlike the elevator, the escalator does not take humanity hostage. Its roof-less mode of transport means that passengers have at their disposal all of the free, clean and oxygenated air their lungs desire. Bonus pro: While your inhaling and regrettably exhaling clean air, you can enjoy the sights of your surroundings. Where else can you see both Sportsgirl and SushiSushi at the same vantage point? Way more scenic then being in a helicopter viewing Mount Rushmore for the first time, obviously.
Seriously. Most boring music ever. An elevator is not the time or place for the failed high school dreams of an ex-band camp captain to resurface. We get it, you wanted to be the conductor of the symphony orchestra, instead reality dawned and you’re now working as the conductor of the elevator music playlist. It’s not the same thing, even if the elevator chime does sound similar to the triangle your crush in the back row used to ding.
Escalator Pro: If you thought oppressed society circa early 20th century Russian Revolution had been abolished think again. In an elevator our ears are assaulted and forced to uniformly listen to the same music. Being an individual is treason. Contrarily, in the democratic world of the escalator your ears are free to listen to musical Sizzler that is Spotify, and even better, escalators don’t cock block 3G networks so you can also YouTube your favourite song on-the-go.
The 10 Second Friend.
In an elevator you are forced to befriend people, people you usually wouldn’t. In 10 seconds you need to go through the evolutionary stages of friendship. Who will be the first to acknowledge the other, who will ask ‘What level are you?’ and kindly push the numbered button on your behalf, will you forgive them for rudely checking Instagram during your fleeting encounter? It’s an emotional ride being friends with someone for 10 seconds and visualising your Thelma and Louise/Will and Grace/Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin BFFL-existence together before they’re forever gone. You invest so much of yourself and are haunted with the same question every time: What was their name?
Escalator Pro: While the elevator assumes the role of the pimp, whoring you out to a barrage of strangers without the courtesy of a criminal record or STD check, the escalator endorses a more intimate human interaction. A step on an escalator accommodates only two people. Do you know how many people have found true love on an elevator? I don’t have the research to qualify this, but know it’s a lot. There’s a reason why elevators trap shoelaces in their steps and it’s not a technical malfunction, it’s so you can fall in the arms of your true love.
Avoid in Emergency.
Sure an elevator may have better posture and good looks compared to the escalator who is battling scoliosis and has train-track teeth steps, but similarly to your high school crush the elevator will abandon you as soon as things get heavy. And by heavy I mean an EMERGENCY. Who has time to run down 10 flights of stairs in a fire when an elevator could transport you to safety in a matter of seconds? No one. Does the elevator care? No. He even has tattooed onto him ‘Do Not Use in an Emergency’ – you thought he was being ironic, the same way he listens to Baroque music every day of his life, or believes in polygamy after watching Big Love by having multiple relationships with an endless stream of strangers on a daily basis. But he is 100% legit. And he is 100% ruthless. You’ve been duped.
Escalator Pro: The escalator would never leave you stranded in an emergency. Gallipoli had Simpson and his donkey. The modern day shopping centre has the escalator and you, taking you from place A to place B no matter what, and for that I won't apologise.
Illustration by Alice Oehr.