Thursday, July 14, 2016

stairwell critters

I normally prize my time working out in my building's tall stairwell because, generally speaking, no one else comes in there. Not counting yours truly, there are only two types of people who enter the stairwell: (1) those walking downstairs—never upstairs—instead of using the elevator (such people never appear above, oh, the tenth floor: above 10, it's too long of a descent to the lobby), and (2) those ducking into the stairwell for a quick, illegal smoke (the stairwell is a no-smoking zone, but this is Korea, so "no smoking" signs are ignored).

Tonight, however, I had three encounters. Well, more precisely, two actual face-to-face encounters and one near-encounter.

I was on my way down the freight elevator after my first ascent; when I reached the B1 level, I heard a young couple outside the elevator doors, and my heart sank: I knew I was a stinking mess, and I didn't want to be around any fellow human beings. The couple got on the elevator as I exited; I inwardly cringed as we passed each other, then the elevator's doors shut, and I started up the stairwell a second sweaty, gasping time.

Around the sixteenth floor, I heard someone pop into the stairwell and fumble about for something—probably a cigarette and a lighter. I then heard silence, followed by the sound of someone exiting, followed by the sound of a heavy fire door closing. I'm guessing that I had scared away a potential smoker who didn't want to be caught smoking. Good.

I continued my upward trudge, eventually reaching the twenty-sixth floor and hitting the button for the freight elevator. It arrived after some delay; I got on and hit the "6" button for my floor. I watched impatiently as the floor numbers clicked down on the LED display, then the elevator suddenly stopped at the ninth floor. "Goddammit," I muttered.

The same couple that I had met in the basement got on the elevator, the female half of the couple now staring owlishly at me. I was tempted to laugh, to say something, but I held my tongue as we rode down another three floors. I quietly exited. God only knows what the lady said to her boyfriend after I'd left. Ideally, she said nothing, but from what I know of the female character, that's not likely. Ah, well. Nothing for it, as the Brits say.

And that, friends, was my encounter with some stairwell critters this evening.


Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Concerning the remark that "such people never appear above, oh, the tenth floor: above 10, it's too long of a decent to the lobby . . ."

I agree. No one could stay decent that long!

* * *

Kevin Kim said...

Ha ha! Corrected. Thanks.

hahnak said...

so the officetel where we stayed had three elevators and one only stopped at even numbered floors and another stopped at odd ones. the last one stopped at all floors. sometimes wed take the even elevator (we stayed on the 13th floor) up to the 14th and go down the stairs one flight.

does your building have a nice roof for the smokers? we kept meaning to check out the roof but we never did at our building.

Kevin Kim said...

Our building is 28 stories tall, but on the 22nd floor, there's a balcony/terrace. I tried accessing it, but the several doors that led to the balcony were all electronically shut. You need some sort of card or pass code to get onto the balcony, I gather.

Most of our building's smokers either go into the large stairwell or go outside the lobby to smoke at the sit-down areas, of which there are plenty. I imagine that our building's balcony/terrace also sees a lot of smokers.