January 05, 2006

They Think I'm Weird

Sometimes the every day, normal things we do crack me up. As this world gets more angry, bitter and impatient with each other, I find joy in some of our daily actions where we have an unspoken co-operation. We will be rude to each other on the phone, on the road, in the store, all over the place but for some reason, when we get on to an elevator, we immediately remember our manners.

The whole process of elevator riding makes me laugh. We start off with a group of people needing to go to various floors in the building. Now, there are two types of people in this group. The first type are the ones who will walk up to the banks of elevators, see that the button has already been pushed and will stand back and wait for the next available car. The second type are the ones who will walk up to the banks of elevators, determine quietly that everyone standing there waiting are obvious idiots who are in desperate need of guidance and will push the call button that is already lit up. Either that or they think they can fool the elevator car into thinking there are a really lot of people waiting and by pushing the button again, it will cause the car to come faster.

Call Button: Ding!

Elevator: Hum de dum. I'm being called to the Lobby. Yawn...guess I'll work my way down there.

Call Button: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Elevator: Oh shit! There's a crap load of people waiting! I better hurry lest I lose my job!

When the car arrives and the doors open, we again split into groups of people. The first group is the type who stands back and waits for anyone already on the elevator to exit so that they can get on. The other group is the type who barges in, pushing and shoving past those trying to get off for reasons I have yet to figure out.

The first person on the elevator will immediately take up their position by the floor panel. This is inevitable. It happens without fail. They will push their desired floor selection and then wait for requests.

The reason this cracks me up is because it is like an unspoken rule that whomever is by the floor panel has now become Floor Monitor and takes direction from everyone else in the car. As others board, they will announce their desired floor and Floor Monitor happily presses buttons and looks questioningly at new riders as they board. Those who have already spoken their destination get comfortable after confirming their request has been fulfilled and wait.

Floor Monitor does one final sweep with their eyes to all the passengers as the doors close and then everyone falls silent, waiting for the ride to begin. Occasionally small talk is made by a few passengers but as a general rule, most people try to look preoccupied with other business, some taking a deep interest in the writing on the emergency panel while others stare at the number screen as the car rises.

As each person reaches their destination, more manners ensue as people politely step out of the way, some bid each other a good day and others, who have accidentally made eye contact with anyone else, will give a small smile and a nod.

Today, as I was first person on the elevator and then promoted to Floor Monitor, I found myself thinking what it would be like to throw a monkey wrench into the entire process. As people got on after me announcing their desired floors, I thought to myself, “What would they do if I just stood here and did not press the floor they wanted? Or, what would they do if they told me floor 34 and I pressed floor 26? What kind of chaos would this bring? What if I refused to step aside politely as someone tried to exit the elevator? What if, instead of facing forward today, I decided to face the back of the elevator? What if, the next time I got onto an elevator and I was not the first person, I refused to inform Floor Monitor of my destination, rather, just climbed on and stared at them blankly as they gave me the questioning look? What if I just started talking to everyone on the elevator about any random subject? What if I just kept chattering on and on even if no one responded to me?”

That’s when I started laughing. No one on the elevator knows what I’m thinking, all they see is me, Floor Monitor, trying very hard to suppress my laughter and failing miserably after they announced, “Two, please”. I recognized how it looked and imagined it in my mind from their angle. This of course only made me laugh that much harder. Perhaps I already accomplished my goal of throwing a monkey wrench into the whole thing today by looking insane.

Sometimes we just have to enjoy the little things in life.

Posted by S. Faolan Wolf at January 5, 2006 12:48 AM | TrackBack

I find you get the same effect if you get on an elevator and face the rear wall. It scares people.

Posted by: Maine at January 9, 2006 11:44 AM

Oh My God! That was the funniest thing I've read in a while. I could just see it. Did all the people in the elevator start laughing or did they look around for the hidden camera?

Posted by: SailGirl at January 17, 2006 08:44 PM
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