Elevator Time

{Dedicated to Nada & anyone else who finds elevator silences highly irritating}

Have you ever witnessed an elevator crammed with people who were all laughing, talking, sharing jokes, and simply acting like humans with their other fellow beings?

NO?! Are you serious?! Wow, buddy, you’re missing out on life.

Just like me.

I ALWAYS wonder why it is that elevator time = awkward silence. It’s almost a compulsory and naturally expected reaction.

ImageI normally go up the staircases (escalator is too slow), but one day my oh-so-dear friend Nada and I decided to use the new metro elevators. We were about 10 people of all ages, backgrounds and life experiences standing together for 10 seconds. You’d hope it would be a life-enriching experience.

Instead, it was the worst 10 seconds of the most awkward silences ever. (I wanted to nervously giggle like a lunatic when I made eye contact with Nada, but well, we figured we’d be out in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1 seconds… *bursts out laughing*)

Now here’s my personal issue with elevator awkwardness: I do NOT think it’s natural. Human beings are social creatures. Any sociologist will tell you that. Why must we clamp down on our humanity and fervently look up at the ceiling, as if you have no idea there are 9 people all equally trying to avoid any form of contact?

Nada thoughtfully pointed out, “You know, it is a little strange to begin socializing with a stranger you’re standing way too close to– personal space boundaries are already imposed upon in a crowded elevator.”

Aha. Good one. Perhaps it might be a tad uncomfortable if you’re a single girl stuck with 9 of the world’s best-looking single men. Or the reverse. Fine, if you find yourself in one of these highly unlikely scenarios, you have every reason to pretend to be invisible.

But otherwise, which is all the time, I always have this crazy urge to loudly proclaim, “Well, wouldn’t those huddled penguins in Antarctica be proud of us right now imitating their lifestyle!”

Unfortunately, I’ve never actually embarrassed myself like that, but I do believe it would be worth it to break the ice. That is, if it doesn’t accidentally result in its hardening even more, so that the ice is so thick it’d take days and all the heat this world contains to melt…

I’m an idealist, yes, but also a realist. So maybe we can’t all be a happy family within 10 seconds inside a moving box (behold: the elevator).

But what’s wrong with sending a smile to the woman that stands across from you? With offering a piece of your chocolate to the child that just walked in with his parents, eagerly eyeing it? With giving a nod to the old man who’s joined the group?

Now, unless you’re Spiderman trying not to attract attention to yourself, there’s no logical reason why you have to try to pretend you’re invisible. Or that everyone else is.

Image

Seriously, what’s wrong with acknowledging the presence of another human being? Why must people force themselves to suddenly become deaf, dumb and blind and pretend to be the only individual in the elevator? Dude/ dudette, I don’t mean to scare you– but you’re not alone. There are 10 other people breathing in the same oxygen that you are. Think about it– you already have a common ground!

“Hey there! I like your tie.”
“Why… thank you.”
“Yummy oxygen we’re breathing in, don’t you think?”
“Uh… yeah.” 
*blinks* “Wow! I just realized! You’re human! Like me! I never realized other people took elevators at the same time.”
“Crazy world, innit?” 
“I know. Terrifying. Hey, add me on Facebook! The name’s Frankenstein.”
“I’m ForeverAlone.”
“Not anymore you’re not!” *Hug, become best friends, happily ever after*
 

You see? Elevator time can even change LIVES! Alright, fine, that mini passage made no sense right there, but you get my point:

Elevator silences are awkward. And they really shouldn’t be. It’s up to you to break the ice. (Penguin references are not necessarily guaranteed to work, so find your own style.)

Have a wonderful day, and don’t forget to smile in those moving boxes! 🙂

Peace out,

A.S.

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2 comments on “Elevator Time

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