Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adventures in Elevator Etiquette

I have an observation. Psh. AN observation is a gross understatement for MOI! That's like saying I don't have an opinion. Bwahahahahaaa...oh....good stuff. But I made an observation today and it has to do with...bom bom bom...Theeeeee Elevator! Or rather, elevators in general.
I'm slightly scared of elevators. I don't know if it's a claustrophobia thing - or the fact I'm rising up a large building in a little box worked by cords that could easily be cut, jammed, spliced, or suddenly disintegrate (they COULD disintegrate...anything could...). Everytime I step into an elevator, I'm counting the seconds until I get out. It's a containable fear - more like an anxiety or nervousness. Even those elevators that have all glass walls so I don't feel so "in the box" don't help much. I'd like to be "out of the box" (har har har - good one). It's the plunging to my death bit. Movies have done it to me. An Overactive imagination as done it to me. I've never actually been STUCK in an elevator before - but I watched Speed the first and that was enough...and I've seen X-fileses..es...that have shown "plunging to your elevator death" moments. I KNOW people who've gotten stuck. And I'm SO the kind of person that that would happen to. Do we recall the creepy balloon in the elevator incident? EH!??!! Foreshadowing my friend. I'm doomed to be eaten by a creepy balloon...or...plunge to my death in an elevator. Both plausible.

Okay - "elevators are death traps thought" solidified - what makes the little risky box even worse is the awkward ride in it with another person you don't know. What is the proper etiquette for elevator sharing? I honestly don't feel there's a need to talk - you are both just risking your lives trying to get to and from your office each day. Life risking is not a particularly "bonding" experience (oh wait...). I'm okay with just a smile and then staring at one of three of the following: the floor, the counting numbers WILLING the elevator to make no more stops on the way to my floor (unless that stop released the other person awkwardly riding with you), or the glowing buttons. I like it when someone walks in reading a paper or even texting on their phone: "Oh good...they are clearly engrossed in their (insert distraction here) and thus there is no pressure to do or say anything..." I always hope for that. In fact, I hope that I can get from parking level to the 5th floor with no one else - but that rarely happens. I count it a good day if it does though. I find this elevator awkwardness most especially true if it's only you and ONE other person. That 3rd party plus option somehow reduces the pressure to interact. It's like - well - there are 3 of us so I can't very well CHOOSE who to acknowledge nor go so far as to acknowledge them both. It's when it's you...and them. PRESSURE! What's the WORST for me is when it's me and a man...a married man. Am I right ladies? That's the worst! Suddenly I'm thrown into a situation where I'm a single girl in this very much "alone" confined space with a married man. Something about that just makes me feel...wrong! It's like if the door opened and his wife came into the elevator I'd have to apologize for being in such a confined space with her husband..and she will inevitabley look at me as if I've done something wrong, "How DARE you share this small private box with my husband!!" I KNOW! I'm SORRY! I wish it would never happen again - but that's the cruelty of elevators!

All these thoughts ran through my head today as me, a married man, and another girl got on at the parking level at work his morning. We had the 3rd person buffer - and the girl looked at the floor as the dude watched the glowing buttons and I made sure the elevator was hitting the floors in sequence. Because of the "getting on" order and circumstance - "married man" and I were on one side and "girl" was on the other. I didn't foresee any additional awkwardness until "girl" got off three floors from where "married" and I were going. DRAT! So she gets off and not only am I now in a confined private box with a married man - but we're standing right next to each other with "ample" room on the other side of the elevator. THIS is the time his wife would catch us standing closer than was necessary and completely misunderstand that there had been a girl in there with us occupying the other half of the elevator and THAT'S why we are "close"! Should I move? Should he move? Three floors later we were thankfully released without a glance or word. SHEESH!
I hate the elevator! It's a death trap of possibly awkward situations that spring on you without any warning other than "Ding...I may or may not make this moment awkward for you today...we'll see how I feel.." They should post some sort of Elevator Etiquette - or Elevator Interaction Rules - or even just a sign that says "Quiet Please. Noise may cause cords to snap" in the box of doom! DOOOOOOOOooooooommmmm! I think THAT is a genius idea...not the doom...the signs.


Anonymous said...

Elevators can be death traps. We had a horrible accident at one of our medical centers a few years back. I won't go into details but ...some one died and it was grisly! Let's just say the nurse who was in the elevator with the doctor when "it" happened is still on disability from the trauma of witnessing the accident. Word to the wise: If the elevator stops part way between floors Do Not under any circumstances attempt to climb in!!!

Andrea Jolene said...

I'm taking the stairs forever more. YIKES!

Sapphire Sting said...

Some of my favorite elevator activities:

1. Strike up a conversation about the awkwardness of the situation. Something along the lines of, "Have you ever noticed how nobody ever talks in the elevator? Why do you suppose that is?"

2. If I'm the first one on the elevator and someone else gets on, say in my deepest, scariest voice, "WELCOME . . . to the elevator of DOOM! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

3. If it's a long elevator ride, try to strike up a sing-along. Even if nobody in there can sing or even wants to sing, it can still be a fun conversation.

I suppose this reveals my willingness to make a total fool of myself with strangers for a laugh, but at least it keeps me from thinking about it.