Thanks to the lolling knight!
It began harmlessly enough. I was leaving my office on the 2nd floor (I have relocated to the 2nd floor since we launched, so that I can get my secret special projects on in peace) and about to take the elevator to the 8th floor, when I noticed a repairman standing at an open elevator shaft.
"Hey if I press this button, is that going to mess anything up for you?" I asked him.
"Yeah it will electrocute me" he said in a friendly way, not a snide way.
I chuckled and pressed the button, but while I waited, I found myself drawn to the open shaft. I find elevators to be extraordinarily fascinating. They're so simple, yet we don't understand them. They're everywhere, yet many people are afraid of them. They're an easy target for myth and hyperbole, and I've never even bothered to find out what's true.
"Hey have you ever stood on top of an elevator?" I asked him as I stood just outside the door. The elevator guy nimbly jumped on top of the elevator roof and grinned at me.
And then began my education. He told me of all the stories that are told about elevators and why they should be debunked. A single elevator cord can hold the entire weight of the elevator plus 25%, so there's no snapping and plummeting. There's no plummeting anyway because elevators have brakes and the counterweight weighs more than the elevator itself. You can't crawl out the top, they're entry points for elevator operators only. You can't pry open the doors, they're physically locked even if they feel otherwise.
The other elevators came and went, and people laughed at me standing in that open blackness. But my elevator friend was awesome. He told me, most interestingly, that in order to figure out what's wrong with an elevator that people are claiming is broken, that he will sit on top of it and ride it while it makes its routes.
"You hear a lot of really interesting conversations that way".
I can't possibly recreate for you that experience, but I can share with you my follow-up, as I was trying to fact check to see how much of what he said was really true. This is an amazing article (it's a very long read, and you should do it, but this video also sums up the main story), and truly might tell you more than you'd ever want to know about elevators, but for me, I feel like I've found a new obsession.