Sunday, 19 June 2011

"You Lift Me Up!" - Hmmm. Weight and See

Are Lifts Getting a Sense of Humour?
Many comedians will use the phrase "a funny thing happened the other day..."

Well, in my case this is a truism. There we were, in the "big smoke" celebrating one of the little monkey's birthdays, even though it wasn't strictly his birthday.

You see, oh faithful reader and itinerant of the blogosphere, my children are quite intelligent and very wily. So the latest thing is to have their birthday on the day itself -- more often than not a week-day, with school etc. -- on which they will get cards, presents, the adulation of their peers and the teaching staff, a tea-party, cake with candles and suchlike.

They have twigged that one day, especially a school day, just isn't enough for them to squeeze in all the celebrations, treats, trips out, shopping expeditions and other things they can wangle, cajole and otherwise obtain on the back of a birthday. So in order to get the maximum fun and celebration out of their birthdays a new custom has sprung up: the "birthday weekend."

Oh the eldest one started it, being a cunning character and keen to eek out the full birthday potential, but the others quickly embraced this 'great' idea. Funnily enough we grown ups don't seem to get a birthday weekend, unless of course the children decide they want to go to the cinema, or out for a meal...

Besides how could we say no. It all seems so, well... Catholic! To celebrate a feast day and then continue the celebrations for some days afterwards (12 days of Christmas and all that). No dour presbyterianism for the Hurley family thank you very much!

And so we found ourselves in the big city, on the first "birthday weekend" of the year. Everyone was dropped off at the cinema and dad (yes the heroic figure of the hour, for 'twas I) went to park the car. I decided to park on an upper floor of the 'Outrageous City Centre Parking Charges PLC' car park, needing the exercise the stairs offered (ahead of the meal we would go for post-cinema).

After the cinema and a meal we all waddled our way back to the car park. Oh we didn't burp, belch or otherwise add to "climate change" (upwards or downwards or whichever fad the "experts" are promoting this week), but rest assured we were all most satisfied after our post-cinematic banquet. After filling the ticket machine with the national debt of a middling size African state, the little ones (ah! bless) voted to use the lift, despite the protestations of me and the boss. It being a "birthday weekend" how could we say no to the upturned pleading visages?

Yet the day was still to be mine. Carpe Diem (trans: every fish dies one day).

Off we tramped into the lift: a lift we have frequented (if one can frequent a lift without being some kind of wandering minstrel, vagabond, vagrant, ne'erdowell, or erm... tramp) many times before, marvelling at this feat of modern mechanics as it triumphantly hoists us upwards (or indeed downwards) to our preordained
destination, which we alight at with a "hoorah" as we toast the health of Messrs Faraday and Edison without whom, there can be no doubt, the marvel that is the modern lift (that's an 'elevator' for Americans, an 'uppy-downy thing' for Isle of Wighters), would not exist today.

Yet on this magnificent and glorious day, Providence was to lend a hand and deliver victory back to the Stairs Lobby ('mum' and I), yet in such an amusing way as not to leave the children feeling cheated of another ride on the mechanical marvel known as the lift (you may scoff, but it's cheaper than the London Eye).

You see, oh much maligned and put-upon reader of this illustrious and munificent blog, despite having used the lift before; even sharing it -- never let it be said that we are not charitable in extremis -- with strangers (how Biblical!) many times, on this particular joyous occasion on the closure of the doors (in that magical Star Trek way -- fill in your own sound effects), the lift refused to move.

There was no alarm, no movement, no nothing. Yes I know that is a double-negative and so means there had to be something. Back of the class Smarty Pants, because that is exactly what I mean. There was something, but the little lit symbol on the control panel (I know, very Captain Kirk again) wasn't immediately obvious to those of us present on this little lift adventure.

Yet there it was, when we checked to see if the little finger at the end of the little arm that belonged to the little person who had pleaded with such fervour to be allowed to press the button (as if her very life depended on the outcome of this particularly weighty parental decision, especially as this wasn't her 'birthday weekend') had indeed carried out her specified task and pressed the aforementioned very same button. There was a little yellow light shining for all the world to see (all the world within the lift anyway):


Cue sinister music. Jaws may be too "moody." Psycho would be apt, yet most unsuitable. I'm thinking something along the lines of John Carpenter's The Fog, but feel free to insert your own favourite, as long as it's not Magic Roundabout (Dougal et al) or Rainbow (a la Zippy), which are sinister for their own occult reasons, best not entered into here, but highly unsuitable if we are to maintain an air of subtle horror at this outcome.

Had it been the particularly fine tapas food we had enjoyed at a Spanish-themed hostelry? Or had the children over-done things with their choice of vittles in the world-of-cine foyer?

The doors of the lift opened (serwish!) and we spilled out into the lobby area of the car park (the payment machines looking at us with a cocky glare that said defiantly "we've had your money already - losers") with bursts of laughter.

Either the lift was playing up (damn you Edison and Faraday, what use to us is your genius now?) or we weighed considerably more than the last time we used the lift - even with an extra pair of 'far from svelte' people.

So we climbed the stairs. Hoorah! The grown-ups had exerted their authority. Not really, but let me have my moment of victory. And the children didn't even mind, so happy were they in the "knowledge" that we must be morbidly obese as a family for the lift to refuse to budge on account of our combined weight.

As Del Boy might well intone, "everyone's a winner."

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