Friday, January 4th

We Parksiders have lifts in our buildings. The buildings are no taller than the Lakeside ones, basement, ground and two upper floors, but for some reason we have lifts and they don’t, at least some of them don’t because I can’t say I have checked them all. I suppose it is compensation for us not having a view of the shrinking lake.

Our lift is intelligent, in the meaning that it thinks for itself not that it is smart. Most of the time it rests at -1 but sometimes it prefers the view from other floors and so you never really know where you might find it. It likes to close its doors quickly but then sits there and mulls over what to do next. I think it doesn’t like being cold on the inside nor does it like rushing into things.

There are times I load our shopping into the lift and it leaves me behind but takes it on excursions to other floors just so the neighbours can see what we bought. It only does this when I have placed something like toilet rolls, own-label cornflakes or hemorrhoid cream in a prominent position on the top of the pile as if to say “You see the sort of people I have to deal with here! I used to be a lift in the Ritz and now this.”.

There are other times, like right now, when it goes on strike. It is very clever at deciding when to withdraw services. It knows that I’m keen to have a tidy up that will involve a lot of movement of heavy boxes down to the basement store room. It also knows that Starbuck’s builders are keen to shift a lot of heavy stuff up to her apartment. This is therefore an ideal time to feign a breakdown, just to get some attention and so that we will appreciate it more in the future. Narcissistic. We have a narcissistic lift.

It also has psychotic tendencies as evidenced through its favourite trick of “resetting itself”. If it has had a tough month and is starting to lose track of which of the four floors it is on it needs to reset, the lift equivalent of spending a week at a spa. To reset itself it needs to go to the top, second floor, apparently. The second floor is the penthouse, where Penthouse and Slightly Dangerous live and because it is “posh” the lift opens directly into the apartment, no lobby. In normal operating mode you cannot access the second floor without a special magnetic key thing that obviously only the owners of the penthouse are given but our lift doesn’t care too much about that, if it needs to reset it will take anyone or anything that happens to be inside at the time straight to the second floor and open the doors so you can surprise the neighbours.

Now, this would be nothing more than annoying if it wasn’t for the Hound of the Baskervilles, AKA Penthouse and Slightly Dangerous’ dog. I hesitate to call it a pet, that’s a bit like calling a wild and ferocious lion a cat. This is a big, red eyed, snarling, slobbering beast of a thing and it has free run of their apartment. In fact, I think its bed is right opposite the lift doors. This turns a lift reset from an annoyance into an extreme sport. It has happened to me once so far when the Hound of the Baskervilles was home and alert, he’s always alert. I realized the lift was going further than expected but wasn’t sure what exactly would happen next. I thought “Okay, so we go up to second, the doors don’t open because that would be silly, we go back down again.”. Oh, no. We go to second, the doors open, the Hound is right there going crazy, all teeth, muscle and slobber. I’m not sure whether to use my hands to protect my privates or to try and pat the thing but I can’t do either because I’m frantically pressing lift buttons to try and get out of there. Lift decides, for once, there’s no need to be hasty with the door closing as the penthouse is warmer than the lobbies so just takes its own sweet time to close and take me back down, thankfully still in possession of all the parts I started the journey with. I think I was lucky that I had met the Hound not all that long before the lift reset and so he sort of knew my scent and knew I had been previously allowed into his lair by his masters. I hate to think what happens next time, now we are in the midst of strained relations.

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