My Neighbour Errol- Elevator Adventures
It’s official, I’m calling these posts My Neighbour Errol (for the non-Miyazaki fans, this is a play on My Neighbour Totoro). We always joke that if Errol were to have a sitcom, that would be it’s name. Since that is unlikely to happen, I might as well make good use of the name.
First: backstory. About a month ago, Errol got a new job, the first 9-5 job he’s had in about ten years. About a week into his new job, while bored on the bus, he decided to call me while I was getting ready for work. Since then, every morning, without fail, he has called me. I play a little game now called “Will Errol call before my alarm?”. The answer is usually yes, at least for the second alarm (that’s right, I have two alarms…I’m that scared). Heck, if it weren’t for my extreme paranoia, I could probably depend on him to be my alarm.
Oddly enough, this new routine has resulted in me being ready on time. Have you ever tried to talk on the phone while making breakfast or brushing your teeth? It’s awkward, even on speaker phone. So at the very least, by the time of the Errol alarm phone call I am not struggling into pants. Sure, I could not answer the phone. But then I would have to get an Errol voicemail, which is an entire post unto itself.
But we’re not here to talk about alarms. We’re here to talk about elevators.
An elevator is an uncomfortable place to begin with. It’s like being in some sort of stasis before you can resume actual life again. There are those blessed days when I ride the elevator alone and free of the discomfort of strangers. But more often than not, I have to share the elevator with the various occupants of my building. We exchange a brief smile or hello, we shuffle around to fit the various laundry baskets and grocery bags, and then we ride down in silence. Very, very awkward silence. It’s a fact of city life that used to make my stomach twist, but that I’ve actually gotten used to now.
Then Errol started his morning calls.
One morning, as I was talking on the phone and heading out into my apartment corridor, Errol said to hold on since he was in a coffee shop and so I stayed on the line while he ordered. As he was doing so, another person living on my floor exited their apartment. This person happened to be a fairly attractive man. Obviously I don’t have a photo or a name, but for reference’s sake, let’s say he looked like this:
Now, life is not like tv. People living in an apartment building…don’t generally know their neighbours. But this one happened to live right next to me, and it seemed only natural to greet him with a slightly more exuberant “Good morning” than the grunts I usually saved for people in the elevator. We chatted for a moment and the elevator arrived. And wouldn’t you know it, it was packed to the brim with people. We squeezed in and somehow ended up face to face in a very enclosed elevator. It was at this point that Errol came back.
If Errol senses there is an opportunity to try and make me crack, he will take it without hesitation. Now, usually, if I stay calm enough and if it is quiet enough around me, he won’t always realize that Teasing Time is ripe for the picking. Unfortunately, I had “that guy” in the elevator. You know “that guy”. He’s friendly, he’s loud, and he loves talking to people in elevators. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love this man. But that day…I felt slightly differently.
Sure enough, Errol heard Happy Man contentedly chatting away and was easily able to deduce from my whispered, mono-syllabic responses that I was in the enclosed space of the elevator. Knowing that I was around people and unable to escape for at least another 30 agonizing seconds, he proceeded to do what he does best. Make me crack by shouting out any number of shocking and embarrassing statements.
Now. Imagine you have met a fairly attractive man. Who lives next to you. Who you can only make a first impression once with. Who you are standing very close to.
Now imagine your very loud, Asian friend’s voice emanating from the phone as he describes just what I like in a man, followed by a description of toe nail clippings, followed by primal animal noises. And it’s just loud enough for the fairly attractive man to hear it but quiet enough that no one else does. In an elevator so packed that you have no choice but to watch as he slowly gives you one of the most weirded out looks you have ever received.
It’s impossible to properly convey exactly what Errol says and sounds like in those moments, but to give you an idea of how much joy he takes out of bugging people and how enthusiastic he can get, here is a video we made a friend:
The elevator stopped. On every. Floor.
As soon as those doors opened on the ground floor, I was out. As fast as I could go. At which point Errol laughed manically, reveling in his playtime.
“WELL, THAT WAS THE ELEVATOR RIDE FROM HELL!” I yelled into the phone, trying to overpower his laughter. “I’m pretty sure everyone heard you!”
“What part?!” Errol asked with glee.
“I’m pretty sure it was there was something about tickling toes they heard!”
It was only at that point that I glanced behind me. The fairly attractive man was still there. He had assumed the “I’m not listening, but I really am” stature. I have not seen him since, but I can easily predict awkward hallway encounters in the future.
Every morning now, it is a race to see if I can get to the elevator before Errol finishes ordering that coffee. You might be asking “Why don’t you just hang up?”
Because I’m Canadian. And that would be rude. At least that’s the only good excuse I can think of. I should probably just avoid elevators altogether.