The Anachronism of the Elevator Operator

I recall in years long past,
A person in uniform,
Sitting on a fold-down
Round wooden stool
In the corner of the
Minimum wage
With dignity.
“Floor please?”
Was the question asked of all
With rarely any
Eye contact. It was a mechanical
Performed by a
We chose
And they pressed the button.
A symbiosis of our need to shop
And their need to earn
A living,
Wearing polished buttons
Like a vertically ambulating
Up or Down?

Most elevator operators are gone
And as all anachronisms
That have gone before them,
Have left some odd void
In the wake that was once
Where they used to be.
I step in
And feel alone.
Something is missing
And I resist the idea
That the absence is my
About which floor
I want to go to.
As Mr. J.A. Prufrock
As TS Eliot) once reminded us,
“In a moment there is time
For decisions and revisions
That a moment will reverse.”
Up or Down?
Now or later?
Skip one floor
Or more?

No we push the buttons
If there is a mistake,
It is ours.
No one with epaulettes
“Second Floor,
Ladies lingerie!”
As s/he pulls the gated
Inner door
That will allow us to go
Where we need
To go.
Whether to go Up
Or Down
Is now entirely
In our own
Finger Tips.
And we are expected
To this
Without that
Round wooden stool
Or the uniform.
If anyone really cares,
There is usually the
Of the stairs.

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