Zan in the Box: Elevator Musings

Zan Strumfeld
Zan Strumfeld
Zan Strumfeld
Zan Strumfeld

Every time I ride an elevator, I always ask myself this question: Will I be prepared if the elevator were to suddenly stop? This is not a life-or-death sort of question, but more along the lines of, do I have a book to read? Do I have my iPod? Is there some sort of snack in my bag?

You see, the elevator breaking would not scare me; it would merely give me at least 20 minutes just to relax. The only thing that might actually scare me is if I have to pee, and since I constantly do, I’d probably be screwed. There was a recent “Office” episode where Pam changes the buttons in the elevator to mess with Dwight, and when they ride it together, it breaks down. Immediately, Dwight establishes a “pee corner” and begins peeing after only a few seconds of being in the elevator. Hopefully this will never have to be me.

I also tend to look to see who I’d be spending the repairman-waiting-time with. Are these people going to freak out? I tend to do this when I’m on plane rides by myself, which is often since my hates-the-cold-now mother resides in Florida. Since I watched this show called “LOST” once (have you heard of it?), I like to imagine who on my plane would fit each character. It gives me something to do, I suppose. Though I don’t really do this with elevators, but I must ask myself: Would these be suitable people to spend whatever allotted time within such a tight box? I hope so. Maybe I’d meet someone who I could have an intense, philosophical conversation with – since I feel that’s what people stuck on an elevator would probably do. You know, that whole, “are we going to get out of here alive?” thing.

Back to my original point, which I guess I haven’t even made yet.

I suppose the one person I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with is the type that freaks out when they realize they’ve lost cell phone service. Now, watch me relate this to my problems with technology (Ha! Did you see that coming? I hope so.). Yes, I know I mentioned my iPod earlier – but iPods are one of my only exceptions, mainly because they are one of the smartest inventions we’ve had yet (besides light-up sneakers).

See, here’s my problem. I’m nervous that once someone is out of their element, the whole texting-calling-applicating thing, they won’t be able to survive in the real world – my real world here is clearly a small box with some buttons and ugly carpeting.

Here’s what I’m really getting at: Google, along with Facebook and all those other websites, have finally shown their highest potential of creepiness. Now, if you haven’t already realized it, they are generating whatever we search in Google, etc., and compiling an “interest profile” that will better affiliate advertisements for the websites we go on.

For example, this summer I was looking into a new pair of Keds. I really like them because they are comfortable and remind me of my grandmother. She always wore white ones and somehow they always stayed so goddamned white. Anyway. I looked on the Keds website one night, and for at least a week after that, every single website I went to had an advertisement for Keds. It was following me. I never bought a new pair and instead turned my computer off and went outside. I was so virtually creeped out that Google knew so much about me, it made me nervous. Google (I say Google but I really mean everything) is starting to, or already does, know everything about me. I don’t even know everything about me.

I guess I fear for my future, and the future in general. Sometimes I cry thinking about how we’re all screwed – and we’ve done it to ourselves. Not to get all sappy and pessimistic on you, but I guess growing up I never thought that this would be where our lives are at. You could say I should just embrace our culture, but how could I ever when people would rather tweet about being stuck in an elevator, than just talk to the person next to them about it.

Basically, (and I know I have a Facebook, but I’m not being hypocritical) we all need to find a different method of living our lives before we get too sucked in. People have always feared robots, but they’re here! Our computers, our phones, anything, those are the real robots. Fear the robots! We need to find something else before they win.

So if you find me in an elevator, I’m tall and have crazy curly hair. I hope you know what you’re getting into.