Guest author: Crap things seen – or heard – while travelling. No4

With Christmas press releases flooding into my inbox before the clocks even go back, today’s guest post comes from Tania Ahsan and when even the author of the The Brilliant Book of Calm (Infinite Ideas, May 2008) gets riled, you know you have a problem on your hands…

Coit Tower: home to Dante's lift
Coit Tower: home to Dante's lift

Excitedly, like little children, my friend Raj and I get into the lift that will take us up to the top of Coit Tower – an art deco structure with a viewing platform on Telegraph Hill in San Franciso.

It’s fairly crowded in the lift with a number of Japanese and American tourists. As we get in, a Christmas jingle starts playing. Since it is mid-November this seems a bit early but nevertheless it cheers us.

‘Bit soon for Christmas, isn’t it?’ says Raj, playfully to the lift attendant.

‘Dude, they start playing them in October,’ he replies, with a twitch in his cheek that indicates that if he has to hear about Rudolf the Red-freaking-nosed Reindeer one more time, he’s going postal on everyone in that Goddamn lift.

We begin slowly to understand the full horror of his predicament as it takes a fair bit of the song to get up to the top of the tower. The poor bastard has to go down again. Then up again. Then down again. Forever to the strains of White Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock.

It is a circle of hell so relentlessly horrific, even Dante didn’t think of it…