Cranfield Rowell: What To Do On Elevators

Monday, February 26, 2018 - by Cranfield Rowell

Like many people in our great nation I undervalue, yet appreciate, the elevator. It is a great invention. To a select few the passenger elevator is the second-best invention after the light bulb. People have been riding in elevators for over a century and, for over a century, many people still do not know proper elevator etiquette. Since I consider myself an elevator-riding professional and a dashingly wonderful civil servant I will give some tips on what you can do to build your elevator-riding resume to new heights.

·         Do not immediately try to step onto an elevator when the door opens. There is a good chance that there are people on that elevator who are wanting to step off onto your floor. You can wait. You see, the more people that leave the elevator the more room you and others will have when it’s your turn to step on it. No one wants to immediately collide their body into another person while they are escaping the small confined area where they had been stressed about whether their neighbor was standing too close or not.

·         If a person touches the button for your floor do not, I repeat, do not, touch the same button immediately after they do. If you make this mistake you will have attached a scarlet letter to yourself. You’ll see people step further away from you. Why would you give the button a second press anyway? Do things accelerate at your touch? Do you have trust issues? Are you a monster?

·         There tends to be more space on an elevator once people start stepping off onto floors. When people start to depart it is encouraged to spread out. Unless you’re bound by marriage or God there’s no reason for you to keep standing within a foot of the closest person. Conjoined twins get a pass. As do hostage situations.

·         The third circle of Hell consists of talks you find on Monday morning elevator rides. At one point someone will say, “Well, it’s Monday” or “Well, the weekend is over.” This is bait for a conversation that no one really wants to be a part of or even hear. But some soulless person will ask it. And people will suffer. At least two people will talk about how much sleep they got to have. Another two people will talk about some movie they saw over the weekend. Another person will talk about their child hitting a home run or knitting a scarf for a kitten. No one really cares about anyone else’s weekend. They care about talking about theirs. It’s all fake. These situations build character. Do not under any circumstances loudly say, “For the love of God let’s not do these talks this morning.” You’ll get the scarlet letter previously mentioned. 

·         A person should immediately cease phone conversations once he or she steps onto an elevator. No one wants to overhear the fears of an upcoming dentist appointment or a looming custody battle between you and the neighbors. Congratulations on your Labrador impregnating the neighbor’s Pomeranian, but no one on that elevator wants to hear about it. People off the elevator probably don’t either.

·         Do not wear or spray strong cologne or perfume while on the elevator. It’s rude. Some people are highly allergic to those smells. Others don’t like smelling your grandmother’s Saturday night bingo tournament.

·         Don’t stare at other people. Don’t side eye them either. It’s awkward. If you feel the need to look over to someone then you better have something to say. Anything will do if it justifies you looking at them. “I thought you were Ryan Seacrest for a minute. This elevator lighting man…”

·         Don’t hold the ‘door open’ button too long. A few seconds is fine. Anything longer than eight seconds is deemed unnecessary. In extreme situations you could be told to leave the elevator.

If you follow the tips and guidelines I have provided you will become a world class elevator passenger. There are no physical rewards for such an accomplishment, but respect is a reward that keeps giving.


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