You can tell who has lived in my building for a while by their elevator behavior. Anyone who’s spent any time in that unreliable apparatus knows it to be molasses slow, and that there is a significant interval between the stop and the opening of the doors. For instance, if you say, “Have a good one!” as soon as the elevator reaches the floor, there will be an agonizingly long moment of awkward silence in which you both stare fixedly at the door, willing it to open. An old-timer, by contrast, will allow the moment of silence first, and then slip in the valediction at the last possible second. I usually walk.
But on this occasion, I was riding. You see, I’d snuck up to the roof to collect a mothballed sweater I’d been secretly airing and didn’t feel like walking all the way down to the basement laundry room. I had already marked out the other occupants of the elevator as newbies, both because I’d never seen them, and because they essayed a premature good-bye to a departing tenant on twelve. They had a very cherubic baby with them.
“What a little sweetie,” I said. “How old is he?” Read More