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Emotional elevator ride: dear neighbors

Our guest : Florence Paterson

Paris, June 2022.

Small strip of pink paper pasted in the elevator, between 5 and 7, the warning oscillates between the register of a denunciation – sober, it must be said – of the surprising work of an inattentive repairman, and that of the attention brought to neighbors.
Fans of news stories will certainly have in mind these journalistic accounts of malfunctions, which are read with a mix of curiosity and fright: a building where a “disturbing phenomenon, that tenants call the ‘earthquake’, causes a violent jolt of the elevator between two floors, raising fear of a free fall”. (L’Aisne Nouvelle, 19/10/2015); or this other one: “the elevator got out of control. The man tried to stop it, in vain. The cabin took fifteen seconds to climb thirty floors. It then crashed against the ceiling. The passenger was injured but his life is not in danger.” (Le Courrier Picard, June 13, 2014).
The trip from 5 to 7 is short. It is easy to imagine those few seconds of surprise, of disbelief, soon followed by fear: the elevator did not stop. Yet the bright blue circle indicates 5. The elevator passes the 6th floor. It still does not stop.
To the relief of seeing this uncontrollable machinery finally stop its course on the 7th floor has been substituted, one can imagine, the moment when the message writer understands. For two days, instead of buttons, two gaping holes were spitting out their wires, they were simply not connected to the right place. Was he or she daring enough to press button 7 to go back down? The message writer used a post-it note small enough to be stuck between the two buttons: no long angry diatribe, no unnecessary words, the note goes to the point. My dear neighbors: 5 and 7 are reversed. The surprise that happened to me, it says implicitly, I don’t wish it on others. And beyond that, there is no crazy elevator story to fear, rest assured.
As I reached the first floor this morning, I smiled, weird joke from the repairman, thinking that the little attentions between neighbors are always pleasant.

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