Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Elevator Etiquette

What is it about elevators that makes people turn slightly dumb, incredibly impatient, and borderline annoying?

I work on the 20th floor of my office building. I ride up and down at least twice each day (have to get the office mail every mid-morning), five days a week, sometimes three if I leave and come back for lunch. To average, let's say I ride in an elevator, 20 floors up or down, 23 times a week.

That's 92 rides a month.

1104 times a year.

1104 times a year = me officially allowed to have this vent =)

Fact #1. The elevator will NOT come sooner no matter how many times you hit the button. You know these people, have probably been one yourself at one point or another (I know I have before despite my own instincts to kick myself after), the people who stand there and press the button over and over, even though its obviously already lit up.

Fact #2. Awkward silences in elevators are actually harder to deal with than the other riders simply continuing their hushed small talk conversation they were having as they got on. Why do people think that just because they enter a moving box they have to immediately hush? Its awkward. Uncomfortable. Makes a 20 floor ride even longer! Just finish your conversation, people! (see Fact #3 for the exceptions)

Fact #3. It's simply WRONG to discuss any of the following topics inside an elevator: gross sinus descriptions, bathroom humor, anything sexual, anything with coarse language, and anything involving feminine products/issues. I've seen women talk openly (and loudly) about their physical issues on an elevator with men - strangers to them! - turning red and trying to blend into the wall. Its just wrong.

Fact #4. Awkward silences are bad, but forced small talk is worse. Please don't make obvious comments to me like "It's Monday" or "It's Friday" or "It's raining out there." I've done this before too, again, kicking myself as the words left my lips. Why do we feel the need to point out the obvious inside an elevator? Are we so desperate to avoid Fact #2 that we say anything, even if its completely irrelevant? OH wait, I have a new "worse" - when you're carrying a lunch box, breakfast tray, breakfast sack, Coke can, coffee cup, etc. and a complete stranger grins goofy and asks "where's mine" or "did you bring some for me?" NO I did not bring any for you, I don't even know you, so take your briefcase carrying hands and back off my donut!

Acceptable elevator small talk: compliments on shoes, purses, outfits, whatever (just be careful if its gender-opposite!), "how are you" type questions (only if sincere!), work related questions if you are familiar with the company where the other rider is heading, inquiries about a book a rider is holding, etc.

What are your elevator pet peeves? Any advice or vents for a 20th floor rider like myself?? =)


Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm not in an elevator much, but I suspect I'd deal with much as I do a solitary car ride. Use the uninterrupted time to pray.

Wow, you do have a lot of floors to travel!

Georgiana said...

Uh...no advice from me. I think the tallest building in our city is like 6 floors. LOL!!! I can only imagine!!! There are probably even less buildings than that that actually have elevators.

LOL #4!!!

Erica Vetsch said...

Riding the elevators at Mayo as I do quite often these days, I find it helpful to have a newspaper or something to look at.

Mayo- at least in the Gonda building- elevators list the various departments on an LCD screen...Like 10th floor Medical Oncology or 6th Floor Cardiovascular Medicine...it's hard not to speculate in my mind as to what the people getting on and off the elevator might have been treated for.

So I work on the NYT crossword puzzle and keep my head down unless I need to hold the door for a wheelchair or something.

And at Mayo--never ask "What're you in for?" because someone will tell you in ELABORATE and GROSS detail all about their gall bladder or something. UGH!

Linda said...

I guess I'm one of those that doesn't talk much on an elevator, as I'm usually trying to make sure that others can get on and not have to wait for the next elevator. Being raised with brothers, I guess the goofy comments don't bug me. I would agree with Eileen, pray during those times. It's what I would do on the long bus ride downtown.