Friday, July 23, 2010

Elevator Etiquette

The idea of an elevator ride—voluntarily stepping into a very small, enclosed, space with strangers—inherently seems odd. Couple this with some people’s utter lack of elevator etiquette, and it can be extremely uncomfortable.

First, there are the re-pushers. These are the people who re-push an elevator call button even though the button is lit-up and has clearly already been pressed. This causes the initial pusher to resent the re-pusher, as the re-pusher has deemed the initial pusher’s push inadequate.

Then there are the people who enter the elevator and hover around the buttons. Everyone needs to get to the buttons to choose their floor, so this hovering results in much awkward reaching and finagling.

One of my favorites is when someone is running to catch the elevator, and the people inside feign an attempt at helping them, as if they have no idea what they could possibly do to stop the doors from closing. This is usually accompanied by contrived looks of sympathy. Don’t do this. You’re not fooling anyone.

Another interesting phenomenon is when people pile into an elevator as if it is the last one that will ever leave that floor. And this leads to an even more uncomfortable situation: when the elevator is full, everyone is standing very close to each other. As the elevator empties, the space between individuals should increase. It is simple math—the distance between elevator riders should be inversely proportional to the number of elevator riders. The uncomfortable situation arises when a rider does not obey the laws of mathematics, and remains unusually close to another rider, even when ample shifting-room is available.

These are just some of the problem behaviors on elevators. There are also the people who try to make jokes, the people who carry on loud phone conversations, and the occasional person who doesn’t face forward—which can lend itself to an extremely awkward impromptu staring contest.

I hope this sheds light on the problem of poor elevator etiquette, and serves as a source of healing for all of those who have been victimized by it.

Advice from Ariel
If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

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