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The Elevators Go Up and Down - Regardless of the Buttons Pushed

     I circled the parking structure far below my husband’s sixth floor hospital room, searching for a “Compact Car” slot to squeeze my not-compact car into. Finally I found one - between two other not-compact cars straddling the white lines on either side of my empty space. Pulled in – oops. Can’t make it this way. Backed out. Swung way wide, angled in and there! straightened it out and shut off the engine.

     I gathered my things and opened the door, which promptly fell back against me. This isn’t gonna work. No way can I squish myself through a slanted opening between two metal surfaces that are three inches apart. But then… My door was bumping into his sideview mirror. If I pulled my car forward just a tad, I’d gain at least a half an inch.

     It worked!  I managed to contort myself enough to exit the car and off I went to the elevators. It took the elevator three and a half hours – in elevator time - to come down to where I was. When it arrived it threw open its doors, let me in, and then it waited. I don’t know what for. There was no one around. Finally I reached for the “Close Door” button.

     But there wasn’t one. The buttons for P1, P2, P3 and *P were neatly lined up, but there were no “Close Door” or “Open Door” buttons. However, below the P buttons, there were two square green buttons with strange markings.

     One looked like this:  < ll > and the other looked like this: > ll < and I couldn’t for the life of me figure which is supposed to indicate shutting the doors and which is supposed to indicate opening the doors. I tried the  > ll < and surprisingly it worked and I rode quietly up to *P.

     At *P, I got out, crossed the plaza, entered the hospital and headed for the elevator that would take me to the sixth floor.  Got lucky! I made it to the elevator with the open door before it slammed shut. As soon as I got on I realized the arrow outside was a “down” arrow, not an “up” arrow.  Too late.

     Oh well, I’d go down and then up – no problem. I pressed “6” and stood back to enjoy the longer-than-necessary ride. As we rode down to “LL,” an elderly gentleman explained to everyone in the elevator that it’s against the law to call a basement a basement in California so that’s why the “LL,” which he surmised probably stood for Lower Level.

     At the Lower Level the elevator stopped, the doors opened wide, and the gentleman and everyone else would have gotten off except that the number that was lit up over the door was not an “LL.” It was a “3.” And this was not the basement – er, Lower Level.

     We all stood there looking at each other and then we all looked at the empty hall outside. After an hour - in elevator time -, someone wisely decided to push the “Close Door” button (which this elevator did have) and down we went, from “3” to “LL.” Everyone except me got out at the Lower Level, the doors closed and then the elevator took me up. As we passed each floor the numbers lit up and shortly after the five flashed, the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

     I stepped out onto the floor, turned the corner and hurried down the hall to my  husband’s room – 643. As I rounded the final corner coming into the unit, I glanced at the number of one of the rooms. 539.

     What? I looked at the number of the room beside it. 541.

     Darned elevator - took me for a ride!

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