A Life in Lifts.

I’ve been trying to think of more exciting things to write about, stuff that will draw in a few more views but I’m starting to realise I’m not all that exciting.

So – lifts/elevators. I wonder how many I’ve been in now? Bloody loads. Here are the main ones you’ll find. Hopefully you can handle the adrenaline.

1. The slow lift that helped me bunk off class.

My school had this white lift which would take about five minutes to get from one floor to the next. You get similar ones that go over short flights of stairs.

Unlike most other lifts it’s not fully automatic. You have to hold a button down for the full journey. The reason for this is the lift is slightly glitchy, and I may have exploited this once or twice in school. Just as the lift reaches the bottom exit door it becomes automatic. If, when it’s automatically levelling with the door, you tell it to go back up, it will almost certainly jam up and the door will remain locked. Time it right, and you have the perfect excuse to bunk off class (although you won’t be going far.)

2. The fast lifts.

You usually get these in shopping centres and they can be fun. I used to love them as a kid. Ride to the top floor and then drop back down. And they do drop. They drop with a sudden jolt that can leave your stomach in the air.

3. The massive fuck-off lift.

These are in hospitals and sometimes car parks and they’re huge. Average-sized lifts always claim to fit twenty people but they wouldn’t. This lift could probably fit a Mini. If someone standing at the opposite wall farts it’ll take about ten minutes to reach you.

4. The shithole.

These are the most depressing ones, but funnily enough abled people don’t use them so no stubborn people block the way. I had a shithole lift in my university. It was designed to transport beer barrels up to the bar, so you’d enter to the smell of stale alcohol and a smell similar to piss. In fact it probably was piss. For some odd reason pieces of carpet covered the walls, ensuring the rich scents were forever captured. You feel dirty exiting these lifts, but you have no choice than to use them.

I muse how stressful life would be if I had a phobia of lifts. Imagine that! In university I had to queue for lifts because apparently 18-year-olds aren’t fit enough to walk up two flights of stairs. The doors would open to a lift full of guilty faces. At first I’d look down and glance away but as I adjusted to uni life I perfected my fuck-you stare, forcing people out.

Lifts, where would I be without them? Stuck on the ground floor, most likely.

The awful step from school to college

At school I felt wholly accepted by everyone, then it all went to shit. I hit 18, became weird and adults became terrified of me. But school was fun.

One teacher’s action summed it all up for me. It probably meant nothing to him and he likely forgot about it ten minutes later, but I still remember this ten years on. Every week or so in Physics class we’d do a class experiment and one of the kids would help demonstrate. The experiment would usually require delicacy of touch – tiny bulbs, wires etc – so I assumed I’d always just be watching. But then something came up featuring a battery and a spring and I was asked if I wanted to hold the spring!

It was intense. I didn’t want to let the teacher down so I held that spring so tight the blood stopped flowing through my arm. It got to the point where my friend was volunteering to take over and the teacher kept checking I was alright. I was fine. This was great.

At school I was always instinctively aware that this experience wasn’t normal, that I might not always feel so appreciated. I couldn’t go down a corridor without someone saying hello to me, and I couldn’t go a day without someone joking around with me. I think that’s what makes me feel so strange these days – too many people seem hesitant to joke around with me, they’re so scared of saying something wrong. It’s an adult thing. To be gently mocked means acceptance.

The teachers were cool. They always incorporated me into the class, and they all directed questions at me (some of which I’d have preferred to dodge.) I know this sounds like standard stuff but for me it was amazing. There was absolutely no difference in the way they treated me to my friends. And if I messed around too much, they’d let me know it.

I barely acknowledged my disability until I left school. I went to a college where nobody knew me, and few had encountered disability before. I’d feel extremely lucky and relieved to have someone say hello to me. I craved conversation and connection, but it was sparse to say the least. For the first time ever I started to resent my disability, as well as everyone around me.

I’d always assumed it’d be cool to play the outsider but it actually felt pretty awful. There were so many different groups around (goths, skaters, hippies) but I didn’t fit into any, not even the group of smelly outcasts. From my point of view, it was beginning to look so artificial anyway. My teachers noticed my alienation and suggested I write an article about how I felt to be read aloud to my classmates. I did so but it felt ridiculous that I’d had to take such measures. The message of the article was “talk to me ffs; I won’t bite your arm off.” I tried to make it humorous despite my burning rage at the world.

It sort of worked. Some students remained awkward but others at least started saying hello on a daily basis. I never thought anything good would ever come out of those two dragging years but looking back it taught me the importance of self-acceptance and that I needn’t rely on other people’s approval to prosper. I learned that it’s crucial to form your own ideas of the world rather than pick a group and agree with their every opinion.

Ignorance begins at childhood and if we want attitudes to improve we must expose kids to disability as early as possible. It helps if there’s disabled kids in mainstream classrooms – I believe that so long as children haven’t had fear drummed into them by parents, most will naturally engage with disabled classmates, stumping any urges to assume or stereotype. Teachers could also give lessons which would allow kids to enter the mind of someone with a disability, pondering questions such as “How might life be different?” and “What day-to-day difficulties might I face?”

Are all terror attacks hoaxes?

 

A friend told me to look up a hoax theory about Saturday’s London Bridge attack. My heart sunk upon realising that he could be swerved by that stuff but I looked it up anyway.

I wasn’t convinced. There’s footage of police changing into gear in the middle of the street but I concluded it was for protection rather than disguise – if they were going to dress up like terrorists they wouldn’t do it outside. There’s another point where they wonder why medics worked on victims on the road, in danger. Maybe it was because the roads were closed/protected and the victims were fragile??

I usually keep my mouth shut on these things but I told my friend I didn’t buy the story. It didn’t feel good. My friend looked dejected. I think deep down he knows that it’s completely plausible that brainwashed assholes can get together and cause such misery, he just doesn’t want to believe it. He’d rather blame the heartless, faceless government. When I suggested he was wrong, it felt akin to telling a nice humble Christian that there’s probably no God and we’re all going to die.

It’s not always this way. There are certain friends I’ve fallen out with because they’re so convinced that everything terror-related is a scripted hoax that they don’t seem to care about anyone involved in the attack. Just a day after each attack they post their take on it all. They spread the shit just to show how supposedly clever they are. Then there are the ones who encourage harassment of mourning families because they think they helped set the event up – these are the ones that make me yearn for the nukes.

There aren’t enough proper skeptics around, only selective skeptics. I blame schools. They should be harnessing critical thinking skills but instead it’s all about short-term memory tests and obedience courses. Humans need to be taught early on not to get too invested in their opinions or theories, that it’s crucial to separate emotions from facts. But here’s one conspiracy theory I actually believe: the government doesn’t want a general public who think for themselves. Never has, never will.

The people who think they know everything about the world tend to be the most deluded, self-obsessed people I know. They are more than likely terrified of everything and just crave respect and acceptance. In my opinion it’s better to admit that life is crazy and we have barely any control over world events. Embrace it and try to make the world a tiny bit nicer.