Going Up?

How do you feel about elevators? Personally, I have mixed feelings. My husband has this weird fetish about always kissing me the moment the doors slide shut. So I don't hate them, per se, but I'm also not a fan of being in a tight space with strangers. It's not that I'm terribly claustrophobic or agoraphobic. Well, maybe a smidge of both. It's more that I hate the awkward silence that ensues the second someone comes along. 

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)
With the loss of this paid position and the advent of self-service elevators, an awkwardness crept its way into society. Perhaps, some elevator operators still push buttons happily somewhere in the world today. It's hard to say. In my attempt to research statistics for this blog, I ran across a sweet Washington Post article about an operator retiring after 44 years of service. You should check it out.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Please allow the people inside the elevator a chance to depart before rushing inside and making the transition clumsy.
  3. Maintain 6-12 inches of personal space, at minimum, around your body when choosing where to stand.
  4. Always face the door.
  5. 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.
  6. Refrain from striking up conversations, especially with complete strangers. They don't want to talk to you anyway.
  7. When exiting the car, follow the same rules stated in step one. Ladies first, and one at a time.
  8. And for goodness sake, do not feel obligated to say farewells to the people you're leaving behind.

Easy enough, right? Apparently not. I work in a building with four floors and a basement. Not nearly as tall as the buildings where many employees throughout the nation work. If I ride the elevator a dozen times a day, on average, then imagine how much more other employed Americans ride. We could potentially change the world we live in by instituting elevator law.
But I know all of you rebels out there would buck against the very thought. You may ask, "Is it possible to do something completely and embarrassingly crazy on an elevator to alleviate the awkwardness?"

The answer to that frightening question just might be yes. So for those of you who cannot bring yourselves to follow rules and have manners for the ten seconds you're on an elevator, I give you an alternative.


25. Push to get on the elevator first, then stand in the corner, facing the wall, and never get off.

24. Meow occasionally.

23. Whistle "It's A Small World" over and over and over again.

22. Shake everyone's hand as they come aboard and ask them to call you Admiral.

21. Smack your forehead and grumble, "Shut up, ok? All of you just SHUT UP!"

20. Bring a chair with you, then use it.

19. Start itching and say in a creepy voice, "I must find a new host body."

18. Hand out name tags and say, "I suppose you're all wondering why you're here."

17. Stare and smile at another passenger. Then announce to him/her, "I have new socks on."

16. Press all the buttons, for every floor, and then lead the other passengers in a sing-along.

15. Bring a stethoscope and listen to the elevator walls.

14. Perform Tai Chi or Kung Fu motions as you ride.

13. Sing your own theme music.

12. Make explosion noises each time someone presses a button.

11. Walk on with a cooler labeled "Organ Transplant."

10. Open your bag or purse and say, "Hey, you got enough air in there?"

9. Draw a square on the floor with chalk and silently stand inside of it.

8. Ask to take selfies with everyone.

7. Each time someone gets off the elevator, say a teary-eyed farewell. Sniffle and wail, "Dang, I love that guy/gal."

6. When riding with only one or two other people, turn to another passenger and say with awe, "I can see your aura!"

5. Lay down a Twister mat and start playing by yourself.

4. Just before reaching your floor, turn and say, "Do you hear something ticking?"

3. When the doors open, pretend to bounce off a force field as you exit.

2. At some point, shout, "When are you people going to leave!"

1. Lean over to a stranger and with a serious expression say, "Hey, um, is your mom still having those... problems?"

DISCLAIMER: the author of this blog is in no way responsible for any social repercussions as a result of the above suggestions, and is in no way legally responsible for arrests or other altercations that may unfold after the use of said suggestions. 


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