Sometimes I think such things could be remedied if everyone obeyed the unwritten, rarely spoken elevator etiquette that holds the world together. Sadly, this etiquette vanished along with the extinction of the elevator attendant, or "liftman."
|Grand Budapest Hotel (movie scene), 2014, directed by Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes (bottom right)|
Did you know that when the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, Otis Elevator Company was the industry leader and remained so for nearly a century? True. At one point, Otis & Co. owned and operated more than 1.2 million elevators, controlling about 22% of the world’s elevator market. Maybe we should blame Otis' engineers for making the modern elevator so very efficient and no longer requiring a liftman to assist with hoisting us up to the next floor.
Whomever is responsible, I'd like to rectify the situation by laying some ground rules. It would be much appreciated if you could follow these simple steps the next time you step on board, particularly if I'm there:
- If more than one person is waiting to enter the elevator car, let the ladies go first. If everyone's a lady, then kindly let the first person to arrive go first.
- Please allow the people inside the elevator a chance to depart before rushing inside and making the transition clumsy.
- Maintain 6-12 inches of personal space, at minimum, around your body when choosing where to stand.
- Always face the door.
- Don't make eye contact. You may watch the floor numbers cycling through or you may stare at your shoes. Texting is also acceptable, if you do so quietly.
- Refrain from striking up conversations, especially with complete strangers. They don't want to talk to you anyway.
- When exiting the car, follow the same rules stated in step one. Ladies first, and one at a time.
- And for goodness sake, do not feel obligated to say farewells to the people you're leaving behind.