Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Want to live where it's always 56° and NASDAQ is always eyeing FB warily? Come into my elevators


In the cocoon of our elevators, there's a
world outside that's always 56 degrees.

by Ken

You probably have these in the elevators of your commercial buildings too: little video screens on which nuggets of "news" can be flashed for the purpose of being interspersed with advertising. If you don't have them, count yourself lucky. For more than a century eople have found ways to occupy their minds during the journey between the ground floor and their destination floor without requiring force-feeding of tiny tidbits of newslike, er, stuff.

At least in my building, the displays also include time and temperature information, and I've learned that the two come from clearly different sources. How do I know? Because the time is current and correct, whereas the temperature . . . ah, the temperature is always a not-quite-balmy but not unpleasant 56 degrees. It's 56 when we arrive in the morning, 56 when we go out in the afternoon (if we go out; since in my building I have to go through airport-style security every time I enter, I try to keep those entrances to a minimum), 56 when we decamp in the evening, and 56 any other damn time we happen to be in those elevators. And the "news" is all, well, whatever it was at, presumably, the last moment before the storm hit the fan. (Ironically, or perhaps cruelly, every now and then you'll see an item indicating growing concern about this troublemaking storm, Hurricane Sandy).

I'm surely not the only one who's had fantasies of what passes for the "news" being replaced by a steady stable of predigested factoids. Why go to all the trouble of manufacturing new news when the old stuff is approximately as pertinent to our lives. I mean, just now I saw some item about NASDAQ looking into some FB dealings or other; is that not a head that would be as good a year from now as it was a year ago? And all the items that pop up relating to the World Series -- if you have to be locked into a moment in time, wouldn't the time of the Fall Classic be near the top of your list? As long as there are stock-closing highlights from yesterday, does anyone care all that much if they're not actually the real yesterday's?

Even that eerily perpetual 56-degree reading -- it's uncanny how you could always wish it were just a few degrees warmer, and yet you're relieved it isn't any colder. Of course those temperature readings have nothing to do with the actual tempeature outside the building. But even when it's fairly frigid outside, as it has been at times since the hurricane Superstorm Sandy came calling, somehow coming in out of the cold and finding out that it's at least theoretically 56 out there creates just the tiniest sensation of warming.


And the illusion of the 56-degree world fades. Actually, in our immediately surrounding blocks, life has returned to something like normal. And while I mentioned recently that a few short blocks to the west is the Holland Tunnel entrance that was so famously and extensively shown fully flooded in the wake of the storm but is now returned to normal (and even the no. 1 train is now running downtown that far, to the Rector Street station, while reconstruction of the decimated South Ferry station to the south continues), a few short blocks to the east, at what I think of as the fortress-like boulevard of Water Street, now all too appropriately named, I discovered Sunday on a walking tour that took us along it that it's fairly devastated -- blocks of ground level business are darkened rubble.

Then this afternoon I ventured just a long block on Broad Street to the south of my 56-degree building to the ATM I normally use, but apparently haven't used since the storm, and discovered that both it and the Duane Reade next to it on the corner of Beaver Street are closed.

I look forward to reading more tomorrow morning about the World Series and NASDAQ's wary eye on FB. My forecast calls for temperature in the 56-degree range.

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At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that so many people make such good livings by making other people do their bidding when we all really need to be working together for the common good.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Thanks Keni,

Independent reliable factoids that never change, or r necessarily correct, replacing elevator ad-drool put a smile on my face.

Best Thanksgiving wishes to ALL


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