Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Elevator Etiquette

Perhaps this is just my anal-retentiveness run amok, however I think there should be certain rules one follows when waiting for and riding in a public elevator. I am not a fan of elevators (or any other small, cramped space for that matter), so more to the point, these are things that just hock me off:

Try the stairs. Going up or down just one flight? Take the staircase for God's sake. Make an attempt at being healthy. Work off that third doughnut from this morning. The stairs are usually faster anyway if you are only going one floor at a time. Push yourself.

Get in, not on. One gets in an elevator, not on it. It's an enclosed box, a casing, a room, complete with doors, carpeting, paneling, some even have windows. You enter it, not climb on top of it. If it was just a platform, then you would get on it. But it's not. So you get in it.

Don't push the button more than once. I don’t like when I am the only one waiting for an elevator and another person walks up and pushes the button again. Umm, didja think I didn’t already do that?? What am I, standing here for my looks?? Do I look that derelict that I don’t understand how an elevator works?? Also, pushing the button more than once will not make the elevator arrive any faster or the door close any sooner. Trust me on this. Double-click your mouse, not the elevator buttons.

Wait your turn. I don’t like when I am the only person waiting for an elevator, and then a crowd begins to amass. The elevator arrives, doors open, and all the people who arrived after me push in ahead of me. Everyone should wait his turn. If I was there first, I board first.

Move to the back. Once you press the button corresponding to your floor, move to the back of the elevator so the others can get in. It doesn't matter if your floor is first or not, move to the back.

Don’t crowd the elevator. Six adults is plenty in a standard size elevator. I never get in one that already contains more than 5 people. Be patient. Elevators are like men – another one will be along any second.


Don’t talk to me. I don’t want to make conversation. I do not consider this "awkward time". Usually I am trying to concentrate on getting my ears to pop. That’s all the entertainment I need for the 20 second trip, thanks. A polite "excuse me" is all I require as you exit.

No "elevator humour". No comments about the cables breaking and the elevator crashing. These are not funny. How would you like it if I pulled out a butcher knife and came at you? It'd be scary, right? So is the thought of me plummeting to earth in a box big enough for me to touch all 4 sides at once.

Push your own buttons. I work in the building, but not in the elevator. You’re a grown-up – decide what floor you want and push the appropriate button. I will assist you only if your hands are full of papers and other work, but not if you are loaded down with coffee, newspapers, and/or breakfast. There was time for all of that before you arrived. You know you have buttons to push (other than mine, that is), so allow yourself a free finger if necessary.

Don’t touch me. It’s bad enough I have to share the space, I don’t need to feel you. I know you are there, I don’t need proof. I am concentrating on going from the first to the thirty-fifth floor on express. Admittedly it’s a quick trip, lasting just a few seconds. You will not starve for human contact in that time. If we get trapped in there, God forbid, then maybe you can hug me after a day or so. But not before then.

Just stand there. Do whatever it is you need to do before you get in the elevator. Don’t try to put your coat on, or load your briefcase, or juggle papers. It's an elevator, not a circus ring. I am not a scout for Ringling Bros. Stand still.

No cell phone conversations. Don’t have a private conversation in a small public space with no other visible person.

Remove bulk. Take your backpacks (very unprofessional, by the way), gym bags, and large purses off your shoulders and put them at your feet. Most of us are larger up top than we are at the bottom. There is plenty of room to sit your luggage at your feet. You alone are allowed to take up the space of just one person, not two.

And last but not least ...

No bodily releases. An elevator is like a Tupperware container; there's not even a source of oxygen. So no burping, belching, sneezing, coughing, and most of all farting. Even dropping a slight bomb can spell catastrophic possibilities. Remember, this is a public elevator - not your dorm room, not a bar, not your parents' recliner, not a bathroom, not your automobile, not your cubicle.

And if you get in an elevator with me, and break any of the above rules . . . God help you.