Much as I appreciate being able to travel up and down the floors of a highrise in defiance of the acceleration of gravity (not to mention the acceleration of arthritis), there are some aspects of elevator technology with which I’m… well, not impressed.
1. What level do I want? Will physicists someday develop a unified field theory of elevator labels, discovering that “1,” “G,” “L” and “*” are, in fact, four different ways of expressing the same quantity? Perhaps ultimately, in deference to us civilians, these symbols will cease being used interchangeably?
2. Those of us who are confused by those pointing-in, pointing-out arrows need special accommodations. Now that doctors have noted the connection between too-quicky-ingested ice cream and eyeball aches, between strobe lights and migraines, will they soon discover the link between those “universal” arrows on elevators and the risk of a Transient Ischemic Attack in those quickly trying to figure out which one to push? Related question: if a symbol is so baffling as to induce neurological damage in someone attempting to decipher it, should it be considered universal?
3. That pesky call button. Elevators have been around since 236 B.C.E., and I’m just wondering if a breakthrough in multi-tasking is expected any time soon. Will we eventually be able to press the button once and rest assured that the elevator will remember the request, regardless of whether it has to stop on another floor in the meantime? More to the point, will we see a decrease in the incidence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (type 173: relentless button-pushing) in the general population once this innovation is made?
Published in the Piedmont Post, July 1, 2009