A Day With No Elevator


Today the elevator at my studio building is out of service, and I have a a whole day of students from 10am to 8.30pm.

There is only one elevator at my building, and it was down since last night. At first I thought the elevator would be fixed in the next morning, but when I went out this morning, I was surprised to find that it was the case otherwise: the elevator was still not working. I was worried.

I went out for a class outside my studio and came back, hoping that the elevator was fixed so that my students of the day could come to my place smoothly as usual. I was wrong. The maintenance team had just arrived and started their work, telling me that they needed 3-4 hours to get the elevator running again.

I noticed the students of the first half of the day about such incidence and let them decide if they still wanted to come for lessons or just cancelled them. Most of them said no. There was one student with no reply. So I worked on my teaching materials and waited.

The student came.

This was a 10-year-old boy. He did not get the notice I sent to his parents about the elevator, so he found out there was no elevator today only when he got here. But he walked up the 18 floors of stairs with no complaint whatsoever and took his lesson.

This reminded me of one incident happened to me years ago, during my graduate study in the States.


Graduate school program had just started for a few weeks, and I only had a couple lessons with my piano professor. One day I went for my piano lesson as usual, on time, at the professor’s studio at school. When I got there, I saw a note on the door. It said, “come to my home for lesson today, and the address is…”.

I was not at all familiar with the school area, let alone the streets outside school premises. I did not know how to get to my teacher’s place. I had no phone, and I had no car. There was no public transportation or cab to get there. And it was the time already for my lesson.

I heard from my fellow studio mates that the teacher’s home was not far from the music school. So I tried to find the street and walk there. Luckily it was only autumn and the weather was fine.

I walked and walked, looking for the street number scribbled on the little note by my teacher. The writing was quite illegible but I tried hard to find his place since there was my piano lesson I had to attend to. I kept walking and searching, yet to no avail. Then a police car passed by, and the policeman inside asked me politely where I was looking for. I gave him the note and he said he would search the address for me. I waited on the street and prayed that he would find it for me. After a while that felt like forever, the police car came back. The policeman told me that he could not find it and there was no such address around. I was devastated.

I had no choice but to walked back to school.

I was afraid that my teacher would be mad about me not showing up for the lesson. I did not have his home number (it was not popular to use cell phone there). All I could do was to email him, apologizing profusely that I was terribly sorry for such idiotic behavior as to not being able to find his place for the lesson.

The whole incident of search and (not) find lasted for around two hours.

Later on my teacher acknowledged that he was of a bit short notice about changing the lesson location.


Now the maintenance team is still here fixing the elevator. I wonder who else would be walking up the stairs for their lessons today?

Teresa Wong

Update: I had two more adult students and one 9-year-old boy who walked up the stairs for their lessons (All male! Where are the girls?). Thank you for your effort and your persistence, my dear Students! You should know that I also had my share of walking up and down the stairs a few times today.

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