Friday, January 14

A Lesson in Elevator Etiquette

My office has four floors.  I work on the fourth floor and I will admit, I don't take the stairs as often as I should.  Usually in the mornings I am laden with my purse, often my lunch, a coat, and sometimes other stuff.  These are stupid excuses, but at least I take the stairs occasionally. 

I work for the state.  Most of my coworkers are overweight, many severely obese, so obviously they do not take the stairs.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I'm running late to work (which is most days) and I get in the elevator and someone's going to the second floor.  Really?  It makes me even more angry if the person going to the second floor is fit and agile.  Perfect candidate for taking the stairs, which is much faster than the elevator in my building.  What really irks me is when the doors to the elevator are either almost closed or have just closed, but are still willing to open if the button is pushed.  Then Mr or Ms Second floor pushes the button, opens the doors, and pushes the number 2.  Really?  You made us all wait so you could be lazy?  There's four elevators.  Wait for another if you want to be lazy!

If I get to the elevators and the door is hardly closing, I expect the person inside to open the door.  It's the polite thing to do.  If the door's mostly closed and there's no way that the person inside saw you approaching, it's the polite thing to let their elevator get off the ground before pushing the up button.

This morning there were about five of us in the elevator.  One 2nd or 3rd floor and four 4th floor folks.  Five wasn't too crowded, but crowded enough you have to strategically place yourself so you're not in someone's personal bubble.  Well, Lady in Front by the buttons gave a little too much space and blocked the entire button panel.  There was another lady from my floor I recognized, so I didn't have to lean obnoxiously around her to see if the button was pushed, but I found it rude.  There was plenty of room for her to be standing elsewhere.

I think if the elevator has seven people in it, you wait for the next one.  As I said before, a lot of the folks in my building aren't slight, and any more than seven provides for maximum capacity issues and general uncomfortableness. 

Most of my elevator experiences prior to my joining to workforce were either in hotels growing up or in my all female dorms.  Granted in the dorm girls would bring their boyfriends up to their rooms in the elevator, for the most part, it was only girls.  There wasn't the issue of who goes in and out of the elevator first.  Even when their boyfriends were with them, whomever was closest to the elevator got in first.  It's the 21st century.  Women are equal to men.

In my building there's a constant awkwardness as some men wait for all women to get on and off the elevator before the enter/exit, whereas other men don't.  So then you have this awkward pause where you're not sure whether to be assertive to prevent the awkwardness which can cause awkwardness on it's own if they are assertive, too, or whether to wait to see if they just go on in the elevator or linger for you to.  But then they often stare at you like, "duh, you're a woman, I'm supposed to be polite and follow you into the elevator."

I know I should be grateful that men are still chivalrous, but at the same time my feminist side kicks in and asks, "why do men need to be chivalrous?  I can fend for myself, dammit!"  It's crazy and mixed up.  I think in the business world, even in the south, elevator entrance should be based upon who arrived there first/who's got a heavy load.

There are three "inside the elevator" scenarios.
1) Silence.  No one speaks the entire ride.  I like this one best.  It's easiest, but not necessarily unfriendly.  I'm just a grumpus at 8 am.  Especially when I'm running late.  This scenario is occasionally altered if the ride has been silent, but someone wishes everyone left in the elevator a happy day when they exit.
2) Weather chat.  This is pretty typical, I believe.  I participate in weather chat if someone else initiates it, but I prefer the silent method.
3) TGIF/Damn life, it's Monday.  These conversations could happen on any day of the week, but they tend to occur on Monday's or Fridays.  "Can you believe it's already, Monday?"  "This has been the longest week, thank goodness it's Friday!"  "Is it only Thursday?"  "It's Wednesday, thank goodness we're halfway there!"   Tuesday's not so popular.

If I have a friend in the elevator with me, I'll occasionally branch out from silence, weather chat or making comments about what day of the week it is.

Elevator etiquette is simple, but many people simply do not understand the basics.  Maybe the only way to avoid the elements that bother me is to take the stairs.  Then I won't be pissed off when someone takes the elevator the second floor.  And my thighs will look smokin'.


Bouncin' Barb said...

This sounds like me when I was younger. No patience for this stuff. Until in my 30's severe arthritis hit my knees. I couldn't do stairs if I wanted to. So now I don't get 'as' impatient but there are still those that are just plain rude. Ahhh.

Thisisme. said...

I have real problems with elevator (lifts to us!) etiquette as well. Mostly when I have my grandchildren in a double buggy when going to the Mall. You can wait endlessly to get in the flipping lift, and it annoys me so much that all these fit looking people just push past you. DOH! You could use the stairs, whereas I can't carry a double buggy up four flights of stairs. Don't get me started on this one!!

Andrea said...

Of course, I couldn't help but think of Ellen while reading your post. Check out her video:

Next time you are in an elevator, you will think of her. And you will laugh. Might make your ride a little more enjoyable : )

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