Cleopatra and The Lift

May 21st, 2007


Dear Mum,

Sorry there’s no stamp  –  I didn’t have time to buy one!

Cleopatra is a constant source of amusement for me. She’s definitely a bit odd! One puppy short of a litter! I could fill every letter with some of the daft things she does. But I know it’s really only of any interest to me, so I spare you from having to read it.

But there was an episode yesterday which I’m sure you’ll find mildly amusing. Not that it was her fault on this occasion, but it’s just so typical…

I live on the top floor of a four-storey apartment block. Access is either via the lift or the stairs. Cleopatra doesn’t like the stairs. They’re made of marble, and a bit slippery. She takes it very carefully, negotiating the descent one step at a time. And the dirty looks she gives me say it all. It’s a painfully slow process so we tend to use the lift.

The lift is right next to my front door. What usually happens is that I call the lift, Cleo dashes into it as soon as the doors open, I close the front door and lock it, enter the lift and off we go. Then I attach the lead to her collar while we’re in the lift. That’s the procedure.

But on this occasion, as I was locking the front door I realised that I didn’t have my phone with me, and I was waiting for a call, so I went back inside the apartment to retrieve it. The lift doors stay open all the time, so there was no danger of them closing with Cleo inside.

But just as I was picking up the phone from my desk, I heard the lift doors closing! Someone had called the lift from another floor. Panic!

I dashed out but I was too late. Cleo was on her way! But where to? Which floor?

I quickly pulled the front door closed, pushed open the fire door to the stairs, and ran down to the floor below. The lift hadn’t stopped there.

Nor the floor below that one.

I arrived at the ground floor just in time to see the lift doors closing the last inch, and off it went, back up to one of the floors above.

No sign of Cleo!

The front door to the building was open. Bigger panic! Cleo’s got about as much road sense as a blind hedgehog. So I dashed outside into the road, but there was no sign of her. Had she run off somewhere at top speed and was already out of sight? Or had she stayed in the lift? Would I ever see her again?

I went back inside and saw that the lift had stopped at the second floor. There are two apartments there. One is occupied by an elderly Cypriot couple that I’ve never met. And the other belongs to a single guy who I’ve only ever seen a couple of times. It’s very unlikely that any of them know that I’ve got a dog. They’ve never seen me with her, and she’s so quiet that I’m sure they must be totally unaware of her presence in the building. So they probably wouldn’t have known that she lives here.

I was just reaching out to press the button to call the lift when it started descending again!

It stopped and the doors opened. And there was Cleo, looking somewhat bewildered, but delighted to see me, wagging her tail for all she was worth. And as you can imagine, I was delighted and very relieved to see her!

Surprising as it may sound, it didn’t occur to me straight away to wonder how Cleo had managed to operate the lift and get back down to the ground floor on her own. That thought only surfaced later.

But I quickly deduced that it must be possible for a human to press one of the buttons inside the lift and step out before the doors close. I tried it  –  it’s possible. Shame really, I’d much rather be able to report that Cleo must have jumped up and pressed one of the buttons herself. But I guess if she was that smart, she’d have gone up to the third floor where she lives, not down.

We really need to hear this story from Cleo’s perspective, and from whoever called the lift. I’d love to know what went through Cleo’s mind. And I’d love to have seen the expression on the face of whoever called the lift when the doors opened and they saw Cleo sitting there!

Unfortunately, we can only guess at what went through their minds. I’ve no idea who the mystery lift-caller was, and Cleo refuses to be drawn on the subject. I think she feels that she made a bit of a fool of herself, and just wants to put the whole, humiliating experience behind her…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sorry if my typing’s a bit shaky  –  I can’t stop laughing!

After I’d finished writing about that episode just now, I decided to take a photo of Cleo sitting in the lift, through the open doors. Don’t ask me why. I suppose I just wanted a picture to go with the story.

So I sat her in the lift and backed through the fire door to get enough distance to take the shot.

I was just about to take the picture when the lift doors closed  –  and off she went again! I was powerless to stop it. It never occurred to me to put something in the way so the doors couldn’t close.

This time, I got to the ground floor in time, just as the doors were opening.

But the truly bizarre thing is that there was no-one else there! Someone must have sent for it. That lift stays at whatever floor it happens to be on until someone calls it.

So yet another mystery that we’ll never know the full story of.

Needless to say, Cleo’s not talking to me any more…


©MPB 21/May/2007


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