Thursday, December 13, 2012

One Elevator, One Coat Rack That Doesn't Fit--And One Stubborn Guy

I'm happy to serve as a greeter in a very large restaurant. It's a fun part-time job. Tuesday night there was a party, a large party, and two people brought an extra coat rack from upstairs and put it in the lobby.

I promised to put it back in its proper place when I went in on Wednesday morning. The proper place was up one floor and at the opposite corner of the building--a considerable distance away.

I knew the two people who brought it to the lobby brought it down from the second floor on an interior cargo elevator. I thought they did it that way because there were a lot of guests in the building and they didn't want to drag it through the crowds.

I should point out that the coat rack is about eight feet long, and it's not the kind that folds in the middle.

I should also point out that I'm five-foot-six and weigh 128 pounds. I'm not a member of the Big & Tall club. Hell, I'm not even a mascot.

Wednesday morning when I went in, I grabbed the end of the coat rack and started to pull. I decided it would be easier (I was wrong, but we'll get to that) to pull it down a public corridor, around a corner, through another lobby, and take it up a passenger elevator to the second floor.

It's easier for two people to move the thing than it is for one person to move the thing, but I'm pretty good at walking backward, so I pulled it a couple hundred yards. Did so with pride, did so with no problem.

When I pushed the button to summon the elevator I realized...the coat rack is longer than the elevator is deep.

A smart man would have pulled the coat rack through a dining room, into the kitchen, and taken it up the larger cargo elevator.
I decided not to do that. Not after dragging it that far.

When the elevator doors opened, I pulled the giant coat rack in at an angle. That put me in the far right corner of the elevator.

I cheered when the doors closed neatly, without touching the coat rack. Cheered!

...Then I realized a couple of things:
1. The elevator wasn't going anywhere until I pushed a button to change floors.
2. There was a giant coat rack between me and the buttons
3. Flipping one's middle finger at the elevator buttons will not make the elevator move

I decided not to wait for three hours for the building to open in the hopes that someone would push a button to summon the elevator and inadvertently rescue the man trapped behind the coat rack.

So, utilizing height I don't have, I wriggled under the hangars and stepped over the boot shelf...and pushed "2" so the elevator would go to the second floor.

Proud of myself, I said, "HA!" the stumbling way of a man who has not yet had enough coffee to be allowed to walk around by himself...

...I wriggled back through the coat rack to stand where I started in the first place!
That place, in case you don't remember, was trapped behind the coat rack!

I realized my mistake while the elevator rose. I also realized I would have to remove the coat rack in a hurry because the elevator would return to the first floor all by itself if I didn't move fast enough.
When the elevator doors opened on the lobby on the second floor, I started to push the coat rack out. I was NOT breathtakingly successful in this endeavor. The wheels got trapped on the tracks for the elevator door.
Once again utilizing my lack of height, I wriggled under the hangars and stepped over the boot shelf. I lifted the wheels out of the elevator tracks with both hands and pulled the thing, at a grindingly slow pace, out of the elevator.

I didn't cuss. I coddled the thing. "You can do it, coat rack. C'mon out. Gooooood coat rack!"

Once in the lobby, my and my coat rack, I put my hands on my hips like a super hero and said, "Welcome home big guy!"

That's when I saw--we'll call him "Hank"--Hank. He was watering the live Christmas tree in the lobby. He didn't lift a finger to help me, and I don't blame him. He was stunned. He was watching me with the same disbelief people use when they see forty-three clowns step out of a compact car.

I looked at Hank and he said, "That coat rack doesn't fit on that elevator."

This kind of statement, the kind that flies in the face of reality, amuses me to no end. I said, "Sure. Now you tell me."

I put the coat rack where it's supposed to go, and counted it a personal victory. Yes, I rode the elevator down... I had to apologize to the buttons for my crude hand gesture.