Tuesday, April 11, 2017
As I have mentioned before, my preference is to always work out of the house. I'm more relaxed at home, more productive at home and more at ease with my increasingly lax hygiene routines at home.
"I'm good, I showered three days ago."
But occasionally, a gig will come up that requires me to be onsite. For some reason, this pleases my wife.
This week I am in Century City. It's only 3.7 miles from my house which, in LA rush hour time, translates to 45 minutes.
Ironically the office is just across the street from Abert, Newhoff & Burr, where I got my start in the ad biz. I'll never forget that big beautiful office I had, with a table, a couch and a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. The accommodations have gone downhill ever since.
The building I'm in has a unique elevator system. Here's how it works:
You swipe your electronic key card.
You select the desired floor on the touchscreen.
The computer assigns you an elevator, which in essence and thanks to some nifty software, becomes an Express Elevator.
After lunch the other day, I keyed up an elevator to whisk me to the 23rd floor. I was all alone in the elevator, but had become accustomed to riding solo in this newfangled state of the art elevator system.
At the very last second, a woman in her mid-thirties squeezed in just before the doors closed. Either of two things occurred to me.
One, she was an employee at the same ad agency where I was gigging. Or two, she had mistakenly got on an elevator that was only going to the 23rd floor.
If you know me at all, you know I can be quite jovial. I like to think I treat strangers with respect and am always quick with a smile. Moreover, I don't hit on younger women because I'm married and also because I own a mirror. So, in a completely innocuous way, I smiled and said...
"Oh are you going to the 23rd floor?"
She didn't answer me. Of course she didn't just NOT answer me. She shot me a look that could light the fuse on a Tomahawk Missile. I was taken aback.
She then pointed to a barely visible digital panel with two illuminated numbers: 23 & 24.
"I'm going to 24."
"OK, I'm new here and I thought the elevators only went to one floor."
That did not suffice. And she added.
"What fuckin' business is it of yours?"
Holy crap, I thought, she went nuclear faster than Mitch McConnell. To say I was stunned would be the understatement of the century. It never occurred to me that these speedy efficient elevators would pair up floors in close proximity. It made perfect sense. But her scowl and outright antagonism did not.
We've all had situations where hours after a rude encounter, we think of the pitch perfect reply. You know, the stinger that would in no uncertain terms, determine the oratory victor. If only we had the wits and the speed to spit it out. This was NOT one of those frustrating moments.
As the doors opened up on the 23rd floor, my floor, I turned to her, flashed her an overly toothy smile and leaned back into the elevator and with catlike precision, whispered...
"You might want to switch to decaf."