I have a part-time job near my house. I work in a building rooted in Midwest history but full of contemporary tenants. Built in the early 20th century for an engraving and printing company, the halls are now populated with actors on their way to auditions, students for the DJ school, and yoga practitioners with mats on their backs.
My office is on the fifth floor.
There is an elevator, of course. It’s an old elevator. You know, the kind you have to pull the gates back to enter. It’s an Otis. It’s a memory machine for me. A piece of personal history because I learned about the Otis elevator company years ago while attending a wedding at the Studebaker mansion in South Bend, IN. I missed the group photo because I was chatting up the curator. He gave me all sorts of inside scoops, including stories about the elevator. One of the first of its kind. An Otis.
But I still take the stairs.
It’s summer and I haven’t been to the gym for weeks. Instead, I bike my daughter to summer camp, walk to get groceries, and take the stairs. I must admit, I was intrigued when I read about Jake Tapper’s morning routine of a small bowl of oatmeal and two hardboiled eggs (sans yolks) followed by 40 minutes of cardio. And I’m tempted to give it a try. Although, admittedly, I’ll likely start a bit smaller. You know, eat the yolks. Start with 20 minutes of cardio.
Climbing the stairs, I feel my quads burn. I pass an actor carrying a garment bag and give him directions. I get to the fourth floor and notice I’m huffing and puffing. A woman is carrying yoga props and I help her heave the elevator door open. I make it to the fifth floor. I’m a bit breathy, but maybe that will pass. Maybe by the end of summer it will be an easy stroll.
I stride up to the fifth floor because I can. Because it’s summer, and I’d rather bike and walk and take the stairs than do my time at the gym. Besides, although I do work a handful of hours in this historic factory now buzzing with creatives, rather than machinists, most of my work life is freelancing. So, I’m often tucked away. Sitting on a chair. Alone. Working.
I like the social aspect of the stairs. I like feeling the accomplishment of the climb.
But watch out fall…I’m coming at you with plans. Workouts. Gym dates when I’m hiding from Chicago’s fall chill. And when I’m sore from my workouts, I know I’ll have the elevator to return to, I’ll be safe in the arms of my old friend Otis.
Mali Anderson is a Chicago-based content creator. She creates blog posts, web copy, original photography, and feature articles.