Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Elevator

I could write about my recent 5-month stint in la città eterna, Roma. I could tell you about my incredible experience thus far as an ASME Sports Illustrated reporter-cum-intern in New York City. I could even blog about my newfound love for this grimy, glittering city that never seems to sleep.  

But instead, I’d like to tell you a story about an elevator. More specifically, the second elevator on the right in the Time & Life building at 9:56 this morning.  

It was like any other summer forenoon in the Big Apple. Rushed. Professional. Slightly sweaty. There was absolutely no indication that this day would assure me of my future aspirations.

But it did.  

My ID badge dangled from a lanyard as I walked towards the herd of Time Inc. employees waiting to head up to work. With a familiar ding and a blinking arrow, the elevator doors opened. The crowd converged and madness ensued. I waited for the next one.

Another elevator came within seconds, and I wasn’t taking any chances. Channeling my middle school 100-meter sixth-place-finishing self, I dashed forward. And made it. My only company for the ride up was a middle-aged janitor whose permanent worry lines pulled at my heartstrings. I had to know her story.

Ever the reporter (a bothersome trait in most other trades), I inquired about her day. 

And her life. Her journey from Russia to America. Her husband of 25 years. Her two children. Her many years of devoted janitorial service at the Time & Life building. 

On the 28th floor, she turned to me, and with a thick Russian accent and a smile said, “No one has ever asked me about my life. Thank you.” 

Glowing, I got off at the 31st floor. This woman, though she probably had no idea, reminded me of why I am pursuing a career in magazine editing— I like hearing and telling stories. To me, magazines are storybooks, and editors their storytellers. As a ten-year-old aspiring WNBA forward, I worshipped Sports Illustrated Kids. Five years later, upon realizing that I would never make it as a professional basketball player, I ripped out fall fashion articles from Seventeen to hang on my wall. I’m grateful I waited for that second elevator, because I was reminded of my ambitions: I want to inspire people with magazine stories the way I was inspired. I want to be a storyteller, a magazine editor.  

All of this from a simple conversation on an elevator.

--Rose Minutaglio, Trinity University, Sports Illustrated
--Edited by Russell Willoughby, University of Alabama, This Old House

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