Where do I start? Well, I suppose your existence is a marvel unto itself. Most first-years don’t have elevators in their dorm buildings. I should consider myself lucky. Sure, it was a bit annoying that I had to swipe into you every time I wanted to ride you, but you were still always there. Just waiting. Watching me in shame as I once used you to take a trip that would have been six stairs. Not six flights of stairs, but six. Actual. Stairs. To be fair, I was really depressed and confused and unmotivated and I didn’t realize there were stairs out of my Dean’s office and I thought there was just an elevator, so don’t judge me, please.
Over the months we spent together, our relationship grew tighter and tighter. I fondly remember the days when I would walk back to my room from the post office with a gigantic package that I could hardly see over, trekking through 40-degree weather with nothing but a hoodie and jeans on. There you were when I got to my entryway, a shining beacon. You weren’t very helpful when I was freaking out that somehow I lost my ID in the seven fucking steps it took to walk from the entryway to you, but that’s okay! Your silent support was enough; you always forgave me when I yelled at you for being an overly secure piece of shit.
My favorite memories of us were the ones where I would stumble into you extremely late at night, while I definitely wasn’t tipsy. When I was with my friends, we would have so much fun in you. We would pretend to stomp, so we would all catapult to our death (FUN!) or lay on your ground, which was definitely not clean, and just kind of yell at the air.
But there was one late night I know we’ll both never forget. It was Halloweekend, and I had just woken up from a brief nap on my friend’s couch — an attempt to sober up. I think it was past four in the morning at this point. On the way back to Murray, in front of the cemetery, I noticed a giant stick. It was glorious: the perfect length, width, and cragginess. Holding it, I felt like I was one of those men that went on hikes and cooked their food outdoors and actually wore Patagonia for its athletic benefit, not just for the style. I had to have it. So I dragged it for the next eight minutes as I walked back to my room. Then, I got to you, O grand elevator. I set down the stick to scan into you and then I forgot about the stick. I left it in you. Or at least I thought I did. I actually left it slightly in your open doors as I was leaving so you couldn’t shut properly. And you didn’t like that. So you beeped, loudly, at four in the morning, when the entire floor was asleep (including me, at this point). And this was understandable. I don’t blame you, of course. I could never blame you. But it certainly wasn’t a fun conversation the next day when my floormate was telling me about how some idiot put a stick in the elevator and woke her up.
I was often jealous. I will admit that. I didn’t like when you let other people inside of you. You were mine, after all! I thought we had something special. I didn’t understand how you could let all those other drunk teenagers yell and stomp inside of you. They were so grotesque. They rolled all over you and wouldn’t get out of you, even when they arrived at their floor. They wouldn’t budge as we tried to drag them out of you so you could have a rest; they yelled and tried to kick us. It was a horror show. But I grew to understand. You were a giver, a nurturer, who was there for anyone in their most dire time of need. You were even willing to undergo the horrendous incident when someone sharted inside of you and left a smell that lingered for several minutes. You took a beating, showing countless scratches and dents from laundry baskets and cleaning tools. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be you.
I’m going to miss you next year. I know you’re not going anywhere, of course. No one would dare touch you. You mean too much to our whole college community. But I’ll be in a different entryway next year. Hell, I might not even be on campus in the fall. No offense, but even though you’re not a grandiose structure like Beinecke or Harkness Tower, you’re one of the most quintessential Yale things, for me. There are a lot of little things about Yale that are hard to recreate through the light of a Zoom screen. I know, though, that whenever we get back to campus, you’ll always be there for me. I love you, elevator.
Camden Rider | firstname.lastname@example.org