I know the one thing that’s likely to bring down the most positive of souls. No, it is not the TV listings for New Year’s Eve (same old crap, different year) nor is it the fact that we are entering January – the bleakest, brokest, longest month of them all.
No – the one thing destined to make a grown man’s soul plummet, is the sight of the lift attendant at my local shopping centre. He really is the epitome of despair.
As you step inside the small enclosed space, his shoulders slump and his tiny fingers reach for the buttons. He doesn’t bother to ask what floor, I think he lost the power of speech a long time ago. In fact, I think he no longer has the energy to open his small, pursed lips.
“Third please,” I say and flash him my politest smile.
He sighs and his shoulders slump further. He presses the button and sinks back against the glass, his small frame pressed away from the crowd. You can tell he hates people. You can tell he hates the lift. You can tell he hates himself.
I can imagine that once this smartly dressed, middle aged man had a high powered job and did much more important things than pressing lift buttons. Not that there is anything wrong with doing such a job, but you can tell that just doing it is destroying every essence of this man’s being. Somehow he seems out of place. He should be behind a desk, on a phone, or typing long numbers onto a spreadsheet.
Maybe this man was once a banker. Maybe he was one of the bastards that caused the pile of economic shit that we are in now swimming in. Perhaps I shouldn’t feel sympathy for him at all. Perhaps I should be laughing at his current fate.
But this is highly unlikely as everyone knows bankers will never acknowledge lifts go down as well as up….
So this New Year’s Eve I will be thinking about this little Lift Man and his sad, pathetic face. I hope one day I will see him even show a glimmer of a smile, but somehow I doubt it.
To me the Lift Man represents 2011 – bleak, miserable and lots of men in suits looking like they might top themselves. But like the Lift Man – surely the only way is up?