When I was about 13 years old, I went to a doctor who had his offices in an older building on West End Avenue in Nashville. The building is long gone, and wasn't a big building (maybe 3 or 4 stories) and in my memory it resembled more of an antebellum mansion than a building to house doctor's offices. But that could have been my teenage brain making things more interesting. At any rate, this building had an elevator, and it was a creepy elevator. First it was small, and it was old, and I don't think it was automatic. I suppose this ancient elevator added to the gothic quality of this building, but at any rate, I was glad when my doctor relocated to a more reasonable office space.
Here in Greece, most apartment buildings of any size seem to have elevators. The majority of buildings here in Thessaloniki seem to be around 7 or 8 stories at most, so an elevator is a must if you live on a higher floor. Floors are numbered a bit differently here, even in smaller buildings, the floor with the outside door is not called the first floor, it is called "isogeio", and the first floor starts the next floor up. I guess this is similar to a high rise hotel with a lobby and then the first floor. At any rate, elevators are a godsend.
The elevator in our apartment building in Athens was pretty up to date. It wasn't automatic, of course, it was small (two people) and you could keep the elevator from moving by holding the door open, which people do with annoying regularity, although I am beginning to understand why. The elevator in my in-law's apartment building is downright swanky, fairly new, still small though, and still not automatic. The elevator in this building, however, I think was put in sometime before elevators were actually invented. It is very old, very beat up looking, and from time to time has a peculiar smell. I guess this elevator is even more daunting because it has an open space above where you can see all the belts and pulleys, and every day I look and think "now is that cable fraying a bit?" It, of course, reminds me of the scary elevator in my doctor's office, so I think about that now every time I use the elevator.
The elevator I suppose is actually safe. Every apartment has to pay a monthly charge for "building" expenses, part of which includes elevator maintenance, and the higher your floor, the more you pay for elevator maintenance. I'm guessing since we are on the 6th floor of a 7 story building we'll pay a nice chunk. I don't mind, as long as they keep the elevator up to date. I don't really fancy the idea of plunging to my death in a bad elevator incident. I can hear the cheesy Greek news music they would play already, if such a death occurred.
Still, I will do my duty by the elevator, and pay it proper respects every time I get on it. We are going to have to live together for awhile now, and I hope we'll get along. At least until the apartment owners decide to put in a new elevator.