The Other Reason why I Hate Underground Stations with Lifts

Ah, spring has re-sprung it seems and even though I was going to the Elephant this morning, it was still a lovely day – bright, crisp, breezy and most importantly sunny. Not only that but as I went through the barrier at the station the lift arrived and I could hop straight on and head down to the platform to catch the next train.

Or so you would think.

But no, because this is an underground lift and the rule with underground lifts is that every time the door starts to close, someone else will come through the barrier and try and nip through the door, and the door will open again and the lift will say in its specially pre-programmed annoyed voice ‘Please do not obstruct the door*’, and then the door will try and close again and someone else will come through the barrier and there’s technically no reason why this should ever stop. The first time it happens, it’s understandable – it might even have been you nipping through the closing door. The second time it happens its irritating and the third time downright annoying and the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh times you start to wonder if you will ever get out of the lift or whether you are condemned to stand there forever, you, the annoyed lift voice and a growing number of more and more compressed commuters until you have formed a mass dense enough to create an artificial black hole and the world ends in a gravitational collapse. This morning we got up to nine before someone at the front shouted ‘oh just stop trying to get on the fucking lift’ and someone at the back rejoined, ‘well maybe you could all fucking move up so we can get on’ and the doors finally shut and we all descended into the darkness, the sunshine and spring forgotten.

At this point I should probably insert some sort of plea for more tolerance, understanding and courtesy from everyone, so that some of us can retain our fragile good moods on the rare mornings when we actually have them, but you know what? It’s never going to happen, so I’m going to save my breath.

And how was your day?

* They missed a trick not getting it to sound more and more annoyed, all the way from mildly irritated through to incandescent rage. I’m sure some jobbing actor would love to do that.


11 responses to “The Other Reason why I Hate Underground Stations with Lifts

  1. My ex used to believe that all sliding doors (including those on tubes and lifts) should give people one chance and one chance only. After the first attempt to open the rubber seal should move back to reveal a razor sharp edge and the door should slam shut. anything still in the way will be removed and the tube/train/lift can be on its way. People would very quickly learn that just ‘hopping on’ and getting in the way of closing doors was a phenomenally stupid idea.

  2. Tube doors, in my experience, are much firmer on this matter than lift doors. There’s always one tourist at Oxford Circus who discovers that those doors close hard and leaving your leg sticking out is a mistake. It almost makes it worth being on the tube through Oxford Circus…

  3. I remember a cartoon strip in something a number of years ago doing what TMC suggests – although I did read recently they were implementing cattle grids (much in the way they do on roads) on the tube; wonder if it would make a difference to lifts… hmm… (maybe there should be 2 sets of doors – so the squeezers-in get stuck in a holding cell 🙂 )

  4. They’ve got a yellow-box type grid on the southbound Northern line platform at King’s Cross, if that’s what you mean.

    Of course it’s quite hard to see because the paint’s been worn away by all the people standing there.

  5. Yeah, but is it more annoying than lifts that talk to you like you’re an idiot? “FOURTH floor” “Doors OPENING” “Doors CLOSING” “Going UP” “FIFTH floor” etc. I only just restrain an urge to take a great roll of gaffer tape with me to cover up the bloody speakers. Mind you, on the Beijing subway every evening – if I don’t take a cab – they have people to SHOVE YOU IN before the doors close. The tube at rush hour is positively commodious in comparison. Thank god the Chinese don’t seem to sweat. Too.

  6. he he – I’m sure that’s for the blind, just like the braille numbers on all the buttons which must be quite difficult to read without actually pressing them

  7. “Please do not obstruct the doors”


    “Hello? Still obstructing the door there, y’know?” > “Yeah, OK, this isn’t funny anymore. Stop getting in the way of the door”

    “Dude, I’m not joking now…”

    “You get in the way of the door just one more time…” > “Oh for f*ck’s sake…”


    “Hey, you! Yeah, I’m talking to you, dickhead! Get out the way of the f*cking door? If y’all keep trying to hop in then the damn lift ain’t gonna’ be going anywhere. U-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d?”


    “Right, that’s it, you f*cktards. Doors are closing – soooo sorry about the severed arm, aw diddums, run home and tell it to your mother. Doors closed and – y’know what? – I ain’t gonna’ open them again. You bell-ends can stay in here forever and rot. Maybe the more ruthless of you can eat the others but you’ll only last so long. Actually, f*ck it, how about I sever the lift cable and all you impatient c*nts who just HAD to get in the way of the closing doors to squeeze into the very last cubic millimetre of space will go crashing to your death. That’ll learn ya, eh? Bet you wished you’d taken the f*cking stairs now, you c*ck-gobblers. Prepare to die, motherf*ckers! Mwahahahaha!”


  8. yes, but what’s my motivation

  9. i love the idea of justgiving being a bookies! (btw, i’m reading a fantastic book at the mo – i’ll tell you about it soon) xxx

  10. tee hee … very mysterious

  11. It´s so annoying, I know it!, but the best solution is to breath and count until 100, I say 100 because if you count until 10 you’re find the underground lift in the same situation…

    Breath and be happy!

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