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December 17th, 2008 - Doctor Deco

I took the train to my doctor appointment downtown (Mpls) this morning, and ambled into the Medical Arts Building just off of Nicollet & 8th a little early.
It's a pretty cool Art Deco style building that's been kept up in the style pretty well. Lots of gold leaf and ornate marble, hanging lamps and arched ceilings.
And a row of telephone booths, of all things.
I half expect my doctor to come flying out of one with a pipe and fedora, leather satchel and topcoat over his arm. He's got the look that could pull off a fedora too.
But not today, just someone getting their hair trimmed at the Arcade Barber Stylists, and the usual downtowner foot traffic. No one really knows where they all come from or where they all go.

Then we have this stylish but overly modernized "Rod of Asclepius" symbol on the elevator doors. I'm not sure exactly what's going on here but it seems the rod has been replaced with some sort of thermometer-bearing whaletail totem, and the serpents are, in my humble opinion, "smirky."
Still better than a faceless steel door, by a long shot.
I was waiting for the elevator door to spring open just as I snapped the shutter. Wouldn't they be surprised. Hmmm. Gives me an idea for a future photo op. I suppose I couldn't pull it off too many times in the same building though it would be interesting to see the facial expressions. Yiy! Paparazzi!

Then there is the supreme puzzler to me. Where did the 13th floor end up?
It's like that bit in Spinal Tap the movie...
"Yes, but this one goes up to 11."
"Couldn't you just make it go up to 10 and then have it be just that much louder? "
"... uhhh but this one goes up to 11..."

How do I know I'm not on the 13th floor when I'm on the 14th?
My appointment was on the 11th floor, and I've never been up any higher than that.
I'm not sure if it's unluckier up there or not.
I'm tempted to take the stairs and see if it's there then. Maybe it's just the elevator that has triskaidekaphobia.


Sorry for the shakiness, I hit the first floor just as the shutter was going off and I was too embarrassed to go back up or into another elevator. People were giving me very questioning looks as they filed into the elevator.
I said, "HI!" just a little too loudly, and walked out quickly.
Hmmm, I wonder what the braille readers think when they read it.
More on this, I'm sure.

3 comments:

TC said...

It was not uncommon at all for triskaidekaphobia to rear it's ugly head in older buildings. In fact, one obscure text indicates that this is where the fear of the number thirteen started, as many loved ones were lost stepping into the formless void between floor 12 and 14. The OTIS elevator company first came to dominate the industry when it started omitting the thirteen from its elevators, thus making them much safer.

TC said...

It turns out, the number 3 is the hardest to engrave, and thus as a cost saving measure, many older buildings try to eliminate "superfluous" floors, like thirteen.

You'll notice that there is also no Floor 23 in this elevator, and the thirties are right out.

dignature said...

Yes, it's a little-known fact that the name "OTIS" is actually formed from the acronym: "Obviously Triskaidekaphobia Is Safer".

Note the obvious complications when the elevator starts on "L" for lobby, then goes directly to the 2nd floor, or goes down past Floor 1 to B1, B2 or when "Mezzanine" is involved.
Which floor do you eliminate as being the 13th?

I wasn't aware of the problem with the 3's, I should have looked when I was in New York City in an old hotel called "The New Yorker" (of all things) (It was actually owned by the Reverend Sun Yung Moon) anyway, to get up to the 112th floor where my room was, you had to take the CENTER elevator (not the two on the outside of the lobby), get off at the 99th floor, exit the elevator, and get on another elevator to continue on to the remaining floors. I should have looked to see if there was a 113th floor or if it's only the 13th that has a stigma.

Was there actually a year 1313 or has that been removed or ever happened?