My apartment is on the third floor of my building. That’s not very high, but I always use the elevator to ascend and descend. When I am going up I always hit two buttons - the 3rd floor and the 5th floor. Why? (I used to push the 3rd floor and the 6th [top] floor until I was asked to stop doing that. So I changed to the 5th floor to satisfy the request.) The reason has to do with a witchy old woman who used to live on the ground floor near the elevator. She died in hospital of cancer one year ago. I cannot fully describe in print how horrible this person was. She spied on and gossiped about everyone. She picked through other residents’ garbage to see what we were throwing out. Twenty years ago she slapped a member of my family in the face in full view of my young daughter. My complaint to the local Police Box (“koban”) was disregarded. “There’s nothing we can do” (a familiar, useless and pathetic Japanese refrain). I also know that this woman used her proximity to the elevator to spy on people’s coming and going. I saw her do it once - darting out of her door to check the elevator after hearing someone enter and the doors close. I guess she wanted to know where people were going to keep track of activity in the building. After that I began to push more than one button when I went upstairs in the hope of planting confusion, so that if she did the same to me I might sow doubt in her mind about the destination (and identity) of the passenger.
Now that she’s dead I am not inclined to stop. I continue doing it with faith in the remote chance I might continue to confuse her ghost. She was so awful that I don’t feel protected by the chasm of Death.
I don’t ignore the possibility that I am wrong and being mean toward her. I know that no one knows the mind of another, that I never walked in her shoes, that I don’t know her biography. But I don’t care. She slapped a family member in the face in full view of my young daughter. Unforgiven.