Thursday, August 16, 2007


Years ago, all you had to worry about was spraining your wrist as you heaved to close the latticework steel door, then you braced yourself for the jolt and could count the floors going by as you waited for your level. Kids happily stuck their feet through the grille and their mums told them off if they got them amputated when passing floors. It was completely optional to open the gate anywhere you liked and have to clamber up, or down, to where you wanted to be. Nobody complained.

Next came the soothing Muzak, then it was de rigeur to install mirrors so that you could check for lurking muggers before you entered what had by now become luxuriously appointed comfort zones with bench seats and carpets. This lasted until they reverted to being vandal-proofed coffins, clad in graffiti-resistant tungsten and stinking of urine.

The latest improvement is that supercilious bird they have on SatNavs and answerfones who tells you, "Doors (pause) closing". "Going (pause) up." "Doors (pause) opening". What next, a NASA style countdown? Or has everyone become so stupid that they need it all explained to them?

No. More likely, it will be a Health and Safety announcement to stop clients suing for crushed legs and whiplash.

If so, it's not enough. What they need is a video: "Welcome aboard this OTIS VRX3777bx9. Even if you've ascended with us before, will all passengers please take a moment to study the safety features of this podule. Egress is by the same aperture by which you ingressed, (here). In the event of a sudden non-fatal emergency scenario, whistles will descend from the ceiling (here) and you should put them to your lips (like so) and just etc., etc......" "Please be aware that we are about to achieve our departure and adopt the Brace Position now and..."

Have you ever had an accident that wasn't your fault.....

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