The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Why I Like Elevators

I have a lot more “important” things to post about, people we’ve met, conversations about God we’ve been having, parts of the city we’ve been exploring, doors God has opened… but today I want to talk about elevators.

Romania has given me a new love for elevators.  Real elevators.  Not those Cadillac-sized monstrosities in America with mirrors all around, air conditioning, soothing music, and air fresheners.  No, I’m talking about elevators just a little bigger than a casket, with fading lights and a dingy scent of cigarette smoke.  With creaky doors that don’t close all the way.  Elevators that make sounds like “ka-chunk” when they start moving.  Now that’s an elevator.

There should be a sense of danger when you step into an elevator, a feeling that you are currently being hoisted up at high speed past jagged bricks, rusted wire, crumbling mortar, and graffiti-marked passages, on wires and pulleys clanging like Jacob Marley’s chains with the lonely tone of a ship’s bell.

What are these poor excuses for vertical transportation they’re making nowadays in more “civilized” nations? These contraptions that numb society into unconscious complacency by their elegance and ease?

But I digress…

We’ve had a number of fun experiences on the elevator in our apartment bloc (lights shutting off, can’t gain access to certain floors, doors opening in-between floors, elevator stopping while we’re in it, cramming 8 people into one tiny elevator, etc.).  But my favorite experience on our elevator happened this evening.

Tonight, I was heading to the mall to meet with a member of Spiritual Revival Church, a small church in Bucharest headed by a pastor from Sudan and with members from Romania, Australia, the Congo, Canada, America, and Myanmar… and maybe others, but I don’t know everyone yet.  We’ve participated in a few events the church has done, spoke at their ministry to refugees, and have been invited to preach this Sunday and at their church retreat in a couple weeks.  We like the church a lot and are having a great time getting to know people there, learning about the situation here in Romania, and ministering.

Anyway, I had a meeting at the mall, so I jumped in the elevator and began cruising down to the ground floor.  As the elevator “landed,” but before the doors opened, I could hear the high-pitched sound of tweener boys outside the doors.  They were talking in Romanian very quickly, laughing, and apparently having a great time.

When the elevator stopped, I went to open the doors, but they beat me to it.  Everything went so quickly, but it seemed like time slowed down as one of the young men opened the door without looking, turned around, saw me, and screamed at the top of his lungs, followed quickly by the other two letting out high-pitched squeals of terror.

Then, just as abruptly as their terror overtook them, it switched gears into hilarious, almost psychotic, middle school laughter.  Well, mostly middle-school laughter.  I thought it was pretty funny too.  As we all laughed, one of the boys looked at me and said, “Hello.  Hello.  Hello,” which only made his friends even more delirious.

Aaaaaah, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as scaring little Romanian children after riding a bonafide Bucharest elevator…

Note to readers: Don’t get the wrong idea about the elevators here.  They’re really not so bad.  They usually feel mostly safe, and they work most of the time, but they’re definitely more exciting than elevators in America.  If elevators were sci-fi movies, Romanian elevators would be Star Wars (Episodes IV, V, and VI of course) and American elevators would be 2001 A Space Odyssey.  Lame.


One response

  1. Calvin

    Haha, Sandburg’s elevators can be pretty exciting – you don’t see the mortar or bricks, but every now and then they make you question if you’ll be stuck somewhere near the 13th floor while your class starts in the next 6 minutes!

    June 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

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