Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Loathe in an elevator

I like riding in elevators.
For one thing, an elevator is not stairs. Stairs are work. An elevator is a ride. It goes up and it goes down, slowly, and that's all. Like the low-stressingest thrill ride on the whole midway. Well, unless something goes wrong, in which case it becomes a hurtling steel box of death. Other than that, I mean. Or maybe it's more like a bus (also a hurtling steel box of death). The kind of bus driven by an invisible computer where everybody stands (that seems fair!) and there is music.
For another thing, I'm pretty good at it. When I'm in one by myself, going up, I like to stand right in the middle, my feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms akimbo with my hands balled into fists. Going down, my feet are together, knees locked, my arms are straight at my side, palms facing downward. I do this because when I'm in an elevator by myself, I like to pretend I'm wearing rocket boots and I'm actually flying (in slow motion) up or down in the building.
Again, that's when I'm by myself.
When there are other people present, etiquette demands different behavior.
  1. Act very shy and demure. When greeting fellow passengers, make slight eye contact with one or two other passengers but then IMMEDIATELY avert your gaze elsewhere. Maybe mumble "g'morning" if you're feeling particularly flamboyant but that's it. Model your behavior after that of an Amish debutante and you'll be fine. EXCEPTION: If you came running across the lobby and caught the elevator at the last possible second, you're allowed to seem harried but get it together quick. Apologize and say thank you for making everyone wait an extra half second and be embarrassed about what you've done until you get to your floor.
  2. Push the button for the floor you want to visit so the invisible computer knows where to go. If someone pushes the button for your floor before you do, don't just stand there. That's going to make the other person think you're either some freak who just rides around aimlessly on elevators or stalking them. I'm not sure which is worse. Both are bad. Instead, lean in as if you were going to push it...BUT DON'T! The message you want to convey is, "Ah. I need to go to the 7th floor, but if the fact that the button is now illuminated when it previously was not means anything, and I think it does, it appears that you do as well and have already pushed the button for BOTH of our sakes. I didn't notice that you did that, but since you did, well done!" Otherwise, you're telling that person that you lack faith in their ability to push a button. You think they're an idiot? You think you can push a button better than them, hot shot? Look, it's already lit up and everything. Why don't you just settle down. It's a call button, not an accelerator pedal. Relax. You'll get to the 7th floor just fine.
  3. For chrissakes, don't push all the buttons. What are you, 12? 
  4. Unless you're reasonably sure you can get out of there without anybody knowing you did it, in which case, rock on, because that is classic and hilarious.
  5. Once on, and all the appropriate buttons have been pushed, assume the rider position: turned around facing the doors, because even though you're going to be in there for a while and bells and lights will alert you when it's time to get off, it's important for some reason to be ready to leap right out in case the doors open with no warning at all. Also, be standing up (no leaning!), with your eyes fixed on the numbers as they light up. Look! There's 7. I'll bet 8 is next...DING! Yep! Just like I thought. And here comes...DING! 9! I knew it! I swear, I was going to say 9!
  6. If you feel you absolutely have to improvise and do something different than everybody else, Robin Williams, go ahead and study the certificate posted above the button panel. Lots of good info there. What kind of elevator is it anyway? Traction passenger? Okay then.  Who's the Secretary of Elevator Safety? Charlie Liem. All right. What's the approved weight limit? 3500 lbs. Hmm, we're probably okay. Hey, no smoking! There's no smoking in here! Anybody smoking? No? Good. WARNING: You're basically assuming the role of Safety Officer if something goes wrong. Sure you can handle that responsibility, Rip Taylor?
  7. Whatever you do, don't talk. No talking! Everybody has a lot on their mind. Plus, they're afraid of you. Who starts a conversation on an elevator? Perverts, that's who. And rapists.
  8. Do I even have to mention farting?


Ruprecht said...

... can't ...

... breathe ...

... to ...

... busy ...

... guffawing ...

Ruprecht said...

P.S. Just as with Jerry Thomas' "Vernon Purdue" in BOC's "Burnin' For You", Rupe won't be able to listen to this Aerosmith song any longer without replacing the words with the title to this piece.

Thanks for that. Sincerely.

Jeff Hickmott said...

You HAVE to adopt the voice of Count Von Count, and call out the floor numbers as they pass. "ONE! AH-AH-AAHH!! TWO! AH-AH-AAH!!" etc. Soon, you will have the entire thing to yourself.