I work in a 10-story, 100 year-old office building south of downtown Seattle. Normally, I take the stairs or ride the elevators. This past week, I’ve been using a service elevator to get down to the loading dock.
There’s a different tone on the service elevator. Most people don’t even know they exist: you follow a sign that says “area of refuge” with a picture of a person in a wheelchair on it. It’s where the disabled should go during an earthquake.
You have to press a Call button to get the elevator, then wait. It’s a large, deep chamber once you get in, with a sign warning about what to do in case of entrapment.
I ride the elevator with electricians and caterers: those who service the building from behind the scenes. They all seem to know each other, and correspond like characters from Downton Abbey, with a sub-plot acknowledgment of life outside of work.
We’ve set up prototypes of Starbucks drive thru signs on the first floor, in the bowels of the building, in a cage we’re leasing from the land lord. There are rat traps in the corners, guys with tattoos on forklifts, and the occasional sound of someone belching in the distance, behind a blue tarp, sorting mail.
I hired a GC and his counterpart to help us erect a 10-foot height restriction bar, 250 pounds, with four bolts and a base plate.
Joel brought a couple milk crates he used to prop it up, and his counterpart began making references to butt crack and lyrics by the band Rush. Part of me wants to work with the service people: to remove myself from the world of posturing and ambiguous office vocabulary. Another part of me knows I would go insane.