In the lift

I often see our former Prime Minister, Mr Howard, in the lift to my building. Apparently, he has an office there. Of course he is a public figure and has to be on his guard about being buttonholed, including by complete strangers who have not abandoned their Howard-hate. I’ve noticed that he has a habit of making a dash for the lift at the last moment – perhaps to avoid being cornered. Once in he adopts a familiar air (because all his body language is familiar from years of public exposure) of a kind of jaunty mock-modesty which also strikes me as mildly defensive. Sometimes he has companions who deferentially address him as “Sir.”

Scene: the lift in my building, yesterday.

Persons present:

Me
A: colleague from my floor.
B: colleague from a higher floor.
C: stranger, not apparently connected to JWH
JWH
D: another stranger, though known to me from the lift and lobby.

JWH has rushed into the lift when all but C are already in. I give him what I hope is a withering gaze. I’m wearing my cycling outfit so he probably expects that from someone looking like me.

D: “I did so enjoy your talk at the writer’s festival.”
JWH: “You were there, were you?”
D: “Yes. I thought you dealt very well with some of the people who asked questions.
JWH: [assuming a modest tone] “Oh yes, well I do have a little bit of experience in that regard.” [chuckles]

Lift stops at level 53. JWH and C get out.

Me: “I have nothing to say to him.”
A: “He’s a deadshit.”
B: [Gives complicit glance.]

D doesn’t catch the glance as he faces the front of the lift. D gets out at a later floor. A, B and I remain.

Me: “Well, at least that’s three out of four who are of the same mind.”
B: “Except for the crawler.”

A and I get out. B travels on to a higher floor.

4 Responses to “In the lift”

  1. wanderer Says:

    You stay in the lift? I wish for such forgiveness to cleanse my soul. I once stood next to Pell waiting for the lift at my workplace. Bing; doors open. I stay steadfast, he enters, turns, our eyes meet as the doors close and off he goes heavenwards, alone.

  2. marcellous Says:

    It’s funny isn’t it. The thing is I think I really do have nothing to say to him. No point in abusing him to his face because it would be like water off a duck’s back. Maybe if he started a party political speech in the lift I’d be concerned to express my contrary views, but that would be to persuade others, not him. The question of following JWH in doesn’t arise because of the strategy he approaches when taking the lift which I have already mentioned in the post.

  3. M-H Says:

    This made me laugh! Lifts are such funny places.

  4. Qld debacle « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] Mr Howard left us (apart from casual encounters) I’ve largely forsworn political commentary on this blog, but the rout of the ALP in last […]

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