Located directly below the firm where I work is another law firm, Lord Bissell. Generally, my co-workers and I who inhabit the top two floors of the building don’t like the Lord Bissell people. We reason they are all lazy, worthless people due to the frequency with which they get on our elevators and take them up or down one floor. They have stairs. They should use them.
There is no quicker way to tick of the residents of the top floors of any building than by getting on an elevator and taking it up one floor when those on floors 50 and 51 still have another six or so to go. Compound the seven floors Lord Bissell rents by the hundreds of employees it has and the number of possible stops between the lobby and the top floors of the building and the result is a floor and a half full of angry legal secretaries, paralegals, associates and partners. Even the mailroom guys at my firm hate Lord Bissell.
Today, however, I was thankful for the laziness that permeates the seven floors of Lord Bissell’s offices.
Tonight was a late night for me. I’m starting off a busy work week and stayed until about 8:30 p.m. hoping to make a dent in my workload.
Around 7:45 p.m. I began wrapping up my day. As the last part of my day, I loaded up my cart and delivered boxes of documents on 51 for attorneys to review first thing in the morning. I dropped off my last box, folded up my cart and headed to 50 via the stairs (because I don’t take the elevator for one floor) to gather my things and call a cab. There was one critical part of my trip down the stairs I didn’t consider until I reached 50 - I left my keycard sitting on an attorney’s desk on 51.
My building is impassable without a keycard. A keycard is needed to get out of the stairwells between floors. To then get into anywhere on my floor, you need a keycard to open the doors. During the day I’ve left my card sitting on my desk before, but there’s so much foot traffic, I’ve never had to wait more than five minutes for someone to let me in. That is a much different story at 7:45 p.m. Most people at my firm are gone and if they are still there, they’re usually holed up in their office or making a B-line for the elevators.
I cried “Oh no!” in the stairwell the second I realized I didn’t have my precious keycard. As I said, we’re on the 51st floor of my building. It provides spectacular views of the city but not the easiest route to the lobby. I knew I was going to be trapped in that stairwell, possibly overnight, if I waited for someone to walk through the doors, so I had to take some kind of action. That action was banging on the door adjacent to my firm’s lobby. I rapped on the door for about 10 minutes, placing my ear to it with the hope of hearing someone in between my incessant banging. No one.
There was no going up, so the only way was down. I began walking down the stairs in my heels stopping at each door, hoping one would be open. 50…49…48… no luck. From our practice building drills, I knew there were floors where I could reenter or call someone in the lobby, but I couldn’t remember how far down they were. Guess I should have paid attention during our drills. 47…46…45… no luck. I kept walking, rationalizing my situation the entire way down. Being the eternal optimist, all I could think was if I did make it down the 51 floors to the lobby, I wouldn’t feel bad about not going to the gym that night. 44…43…42… wait!
I looked a little more closely and tugged on the door. It was open! Floor 42 was my refuge. I had entered the domain of Lord Bissell. Being uncertain where I was, I found the elevators quickly and decided my best course of action was to return to 51 where I was still locked out, but at least I’d be able to see through the glass doors in case someone walked by.
I got back to 51. I noticed there was a phone and called the one person I was almost certain was still there - my paralegal manager. (Good thing I just recently had my six-month review, so this incident might be forgotten by my next review.) My manager laughed at my predicament and then came and let me in.
I learn from all this that you can count on the Lord Bissell people being lazy. If the person who had walked through that door on 42 last had taken the effort to shut it, I may have walked all the way down to the lobby. I guess this means tomorrow when the Lord Bissell people stop me on my elevator ride up no less than five times, I should keep my audible sigh to myself. But only tomorrow. By Wednesday I’ll be back to my state of continual annoyance with those lazy Lord Bissell people.