Lift and Separate

There seems to be some iron law of underground lift physics that states that, where there are two lifts, both lifts will be together, and in exactly the wrong place – i.e. at the top if you’re underground wanting to get out, and at the bottom if you’re in the lobby wanting to get down (where there are three lifts, of course, two of them will be together and in the wrong place, and the third will be out of order). I have no doubt that some clever mathematician somewhere has a model proving that wherever the lifts start out, by about five minutes into the rush hour, they will be locked in step*. The only variation is if you’re carrying a suitcase, in which case both lifts will just be departing as you arrive, but that’s merely sod’s law and perfectly explicable.

There’s a corollary of course, which states that the time taken for a reasonably fit passenger, i.e. me, to give up on the lift and climb the stairs is exactly the same amount of time it takes for the lift to come down, pick up the less impatient passengers and go back up again, so that they are always smugly emerging from its doors as I come panting up the stairs. This, of course, is irrespective of the amount of time I spent waiting for the lift at the bottom, before cutting my losses and walking up. It’s almost as though they lay in wait. Lift physics is all very well, but there are times when it starts to feel personal…

*See also: Buses, always come in threes.

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5 responses to “Lift and Separate

  1. I’m afraid the whole thing is covered by the law of sod which simply states that the lift will do the most inconvinient thing possible for you at any given time and try to rub in in your face should the oportunity arise. I have found that simply avoiding any stations with lifts, going instead to a nearby one with escalaters and then walking, is much preferable.

  2. Bit tricky in South London. Our three nearest tube stations (The Elephant, Kennington and Lambef Norf) all have the dreaded lifts.

  3. Oooh – bad planning. Move, it’s the only option :D

  4. you are right of course there is indeed a formula for working this out. It goes as follows.
    L*H( oh balls i can’t be arsed
    cheers john

  5. hahaha! hello there! xx

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