From a disgruntled resident of John Jay Six to the rest of the elevator-taking population:
Stop the side-eyeing and give up the snide comments because I'm coming through. That's right. I am taking the elevator. To the sixth floor. Sure, it's only four flights, according to my iPhone's Health app, but I don't give a shit.
Maybe I'm tired. Maybe I'm drunk. Maybe it's raining and I don't want to end up like Meryl Streep in "Death Becomes Her." Who cares?!
I hadn't been at Columbia for more than 24 hours when my RA kindly suggested taking the elevator because we only live on the sixth floor of John Jay. I thought, "The sixth floor? Are you kidding me? Where I'm from most buildings aren't over three floors, so that's basically like asking me to climb Everest."
I'll admit: for a while, I played along. I went up and down and up and down those stairs all day, without ever giving a passing glance to the elevator. I deluded myself into believing that the stairs were the righteous man's means of ascension. I told myself that with the stairs' help I would have more than just great calves...I'd be a great person. For a month, I really got into it.
But then I tripped. On the stairs! I could've fractured my fibula! Not only was I devastated that my dear friend—the stairs—would do something so malevolent to me, but I was in a lot of pain. I contemplated going to Health Services but wasn't really in the mood to wait for three hours in a room that smells faintly of JJ's mozzarella sticks.
For the next couple of days, as the massive welt on my shin was healing, I took the elevator. It felt luxurious and opulent like I always imagined Columbia would. But every time I leaned in to press six, I could feel the tension rise in the car. Sometimes there would be a scoff, usually just a roll of the eye, and on occasion an outright verbal disapproval. To which I could only ever think of responding with one of Tyra Banks' most famous lines from ANTM: "You don't know where the hell I come from. You have no idea what I've been through."
Because, honestly, this elevator etiquette is utter nonsense. Let's look at things logistically.
Based on some rough stopwatch calculations made using my phone, I estimated that it takes approximately 25 seconds to take an uninterrupted ride from the ground floor to the fourteenth. Each stop along the way, from the time when the doors open to the time they close, is roughly 10 seconds long and, when you factor in the gauche shuffling of bodies to allow those in the back to leave, you're probably somewhere closer to 15.
So, let's say you're riding to 14 and the elevator stops on every single floor along the way. It's a horrible thought, I know. Try and contain yourself.
That elevator ride would take three minutes total, maybe four. That's certainly a lot less time than you waste online shopping in FroSci. And please don't act like there's something more important for you to do on floors 9-15, because I too have to read Herodotus, weep for half an hour, and write a paper.
So the next time you scoff at someone for taking the elevator to five, think back to Tyra's life-altering mantra. You don't know where they've come from. And you certainly don't know what the hell they've been through.