"in most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn't work. it is there mainly to make you think it works. (it does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. but you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. that the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button's power. it's a little like prayer. elevator design is rooted in deception-to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command. "