Are you an elevator person?
Do you walk into the elevator comfortably and hang out with the rest of them peacefully and in total union with the silence, till your destination arrives?
Or are you among the ones, who see it as a suspension of their autonomy and in want of breathing space and involved in high intensity observation of the eeriness that has walked in presumably ‘with’ you?
For some of us, with no obvious means of escape, we just stand there in silence with a raging inner monologue within us.
I am the apt candidate in topic here. There was a time, I used to feel particularly uncomfortable in standing so close to someone and not being able to say a hello to them.
I would see them almost everyday and while the social contract would say it’s okay to nod and smile, have an exchange of mild greetings, there is a thick part of the population which hates to be exposed to either a stimulating conversation or perhaps gazing eyes at close quarters or the mightiest one of all, which I feel all the time, that they may not be interested in a conversation with me, anyway.
That sheer state of helplessness and hanging in the air feeling which some people exhibit is hugely supported by their actions when the elevator lands. They explode through the doors as if they were buried alive beneath six feet deep soil and were gasping for air.
This is besides many of us who figure out a way to check on their notifications, if signals do exist that is, or have a quick peak into their everflowing mailbox.
Worse, when you enter the elevator midway from the floor between, and are made to feel like a criminal, for bringing any ongoing conversation between the occupants to an abrupt end.
I have claustrophobia and Iam not the best candidate for an experiment but considering that a worry always nags me inside a lift anyway…of God forbid, being mortally stuck inside.
I hence am a great admirer of people who smile instantaneously and invite me with a warm hello which I assure becomes a claustrophobic’s favourite moment and the invitor, a forever favourite liftmate.
Over the years, I have internalised a few basic elevator basics to make both myself and the fellow occupant of the elevator comfortable:
1. I make very brief but pleasant eye contact with the person either entering after me or to the one who is already there, when I walk in.
2. If they are a familiar face courtesy- frequent elevator travel, I make sure that I nod or smile and keep a positive demeanour that is mostly well-received by fellow riders.
3. If they are focussed on something—anything—else in the elevator, I let out a friendly but nonchalant ‘hey’.
4. Post the salutation, I usually turn away and have my own ‘looking at the floor’ moment, which gives others the chance to enjoy the ride in peace, without forcing them to engage in small talk.
While practicing good elevator etiquettes is not the motive of this article, it is a good feeling when people don’t feel trapped, in jeopardy or uncomfortable in an otherwise not so dangerous zone.
Photo by Vale Zmeykov from Unsplash
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