There’s something unnerving about travelling in a lift that’s quite separate from the fear of hanging above a deep shaft on a length of wire. It’s this: at each floor, as the doors open, you suddenly become part of a new environment; and if it’s a building you haven’t been in before, you don’t know what you might find if you venture into it. Rather like the journey through life from its beginning in the womb – except for one small thing . . .
Hey! How did I get in here, and why is it so dark?
I feel as if I’m floating in a void.
Okay, the joke is over; it was just some kind of lark.
Now let me out, or else I’ll get annoyed.
Wow! Now it seems as though a door has opened wide;
I blink, and gulp in air with all my might.
A voice says: “Mind the door. This floor for Childhood. Step outside.”
And out I go, head first, into the light.
Coo! On this floor the drinks are free, and everything is fun,
But soon I’m back inside the lift again.
A button labelled “Up” is lit, the voice has just begun:
“Next floor for Youth and Teenage Angst and Pain.”
Gosh! This floor’s full of schools and girls and booze and raw emotion,
And other things I really dare not say.
I drink and fight and snog some girls and kick up a commotion,
Behaving in a reckless sort of way.
Phew! Back inside the lift, the button still shows “Up”, and so
I wait to see what’s next in store for me.
The voice: “This floor for Work, Bank Loans and Kids”. And out I go,
Though now, I think, more apprehensively . . .
Hell! Now I’ve got so much to do, there really isn’t time
To stop and think what all this is about.
I work, I eat, I sleep; and in a flash, I’m past my prime.
I’m getting slower now, there seems no doubt.
Stop! Get me out of this! Come, lift, and open up your door!
I hear its voice again, not far away:
“Retirement, Later Life and Death available, next floor.”
I’ll get on board, but go the other way;
God knows, I need a change! The lift has been there all along.
I step inside, but something makes me frown.
The voice says “Going up!” And then I realise what is wrong:
It hasn’t got a button labelled “Down” . . .