In a Rush!

Some years ago there was a short story featured in Playboy that caught my imagination, and the thought of it recurs periodically. The main character lived in a high rise apartment building. He was caught up in the hurry about, get ahead, rush-a-day world as Monday through Friday, the alarm went off, and he went through his regular morning routine, getting ready for work, and then out the door, down the elevator, along the sidewalk, boarding the subway and in to work. He reversed the process at the end of the day.

One day he found himself running late, so he buttoned his shirt and took his tie, in hand, and headed out the apartment door and onto the elevator. As the elevator whizzed downward, he lifted his collar, wrapped the tie around his neck, and did the “over the river and through the woods” routine to finish the tie’s knot, pulling his collar down over it and straightening it all before the elevator door opened on the first floor. A sharp looking knot! On to work.

The next day, he found himself a little later, and so his untied tie in one hand and the coffee pot & cup in the other. He managed to pour and drink his morning coffee, and tie his tie, all before the elevator door opened on the first floor. On to work.

As time went on, each day, he managed to fit more and more of his morning routine into the brief trip down the elevator. Ironing his clothes, reading the sports and business sections of the paper, and even working in his complete P90 exercise, all while finishing to tie his tie, just before the elevator door opened on the first floor.

And, then one morning it happened. As he was descending the building, the elevator jerked briefly, and came to a halt between floors. The repairman was called and arriving an hour later, worked on getting the lift’s machinery working again. It was a tedious process of following the path of colored wires, checking junctions of circuits and other components until the cause of the problem was found, and then calling to have a replacement for the defunct part delivered… waiting another hour for the part’s arrival, and then plugging it in and viola, the elevator jerked and continued downward to the first floor.

The whole repair process had taken the entire morning finishing just as the noon day bells began to ring. Several impatient tenants were waiting for the elevator on the first floor, and watched as the pointer ticked counter clockwise, down to 3…, 2…, 1 and then the door opened. There was a brief gasp by all, and an incontrollable moan as each looked down upon the deceased remains of what appeared to be an incredibly old man slumped upon the elevator floor. If it were not for the perfectly tied knot of his tie, they might have never been able to identify him.

Okay, this is the gist of the story, and I have thrown in some items that could not have been written in the original story, but you get the idea;-)