When in doubt, take the stairs.
The elevator button sticks a little when I push it. However, without hesitation, the doors open immediately to let me in. Staring at the mass array of numbers on the side panel, I feel reckless. What was it like up there on the prestigious top floor? My traveler’s budget granted one night in a modest room with modest amenities on the modest third floor. My finger moves towards the top floor button. I immediately begin to rationalize. It was best to leave that mystery for those who could afford it.
I push the button for the lobby and wait as the elevator doors remain open for any lingering passenger to make their way into the tiny room. A lingering wait that makes me consider the stairs. Finally, the doors rattle and start to move towards each other. The mirrored backs of the elevator doors force me to catch a glimpse of myself. The lights in this tiny room are dim and I strain to see my reflection. As the elevator comes to a stop, the tiny elevator room rattles a bit in transition. With a thud, the two doors open.
I step off the elevator and into bliss! The elevator transported me from the third floor to a palace! I immediately walk into the most elaborate hotel lobby. A beautiful, large ballroom with a full bar alongside the back wall. A jazz band playing in the corner kept the atmosphere upbeat and the room was alive with activity. All throughout the room people were laughing and drinking. Beautiful people, carrying on with one another. The entire room was pure glamour and spotlight. My emotions begin to flutter. It felt exciting yet intimidating to walk into a room among such beautiful people. My heart races as I make my way past them. How exhilarating it was to feel like I was a part of them!
My emotions shift into reality as I cross over from the ballroom into the entryway of the hotel. I can feel the fresh air on my face as the front doors flop open back and forth. The humble breeze teasing me with freedom as I make my way towards the doors. However, what if the breeze is misleading? I would seem like a fool for my lack of preparation. What would those beautiful people think?
Nonetheless, it would be no great inconvenience to me if I were to return to my modest room and retrieve an umbrella in case the breeze turns watery. At the very least, I can bask in the glamour of the ballroom one more time. My heart races with anticipation, I step into the ballroom but immediately freeze in bewilderment! The room was empty! Loveseats without sitters. The bar without any patrons. No laughter, no one dancing. No napkins on the floor, absolute nothingness. I was alone in that room.
Panic sets in as I begin to walk alone across the room to the elevator. I thought for one moment that maybe this was all some elaborate prank. Perhaps the wealthy like to play tricks on the unsuspecting unwashed and any moment they would all pop out from behind the curtains and yell “Gotcha!”. With no good reason to do so. Simply to do it because they could, and it would amuse them. Walking across the room, all I could hear was the echo of my own sandals flopping across the tile. The life that radiated the room moments ago, replaced with emptiness.
I press the button for the elevator to come. This time the elevator was not waiting for me. Instead, a long wait. I picture myself blissfully taking the stairs back down. I imagine the thrill of seeing the flopping doors of freedom. Finally, the loud squeal of the elevators broke my trance and I turned around to see the elevator doors opening. I step back into the tiny room. The elevator doors begin to close. In the distance, a saxophone blares signaling the start of a jazz band. I can hear the life back in the room again! The glamour was there the whole time, hiding from me! I rush to push my neck out between the elevator doors to get one more look. The elevator doors slam shut. All I see is my reflection in the mirrors again.