I’m back working in a multi-storey office building for the first time in years which means having to use the elevator multiple times a day. I have to tell you, I’m astounded how many people simply don’t know how to use a lift effectively. Because I like to help (really because I like to vent at people who piss me off) I thought I’d compile a handy guide to proper elevator use.
1. Getting into an elevator: There are basically two rules when it comes to entering an elevator.
- Wait for people to get out before you get in
- Don’t take all bloody day to get in
For people who don’t place any value on courtesy, letting people get out first still seems like basic common sense to me. There’s more room to manoeuvre outside the elevator than inside. If you push your way in before people get out they’ll have to shove past you. It’s easier all round to just step aside for a second to see if anyone’s trying to get out
The second part can be a delicate balancing act. If you stand around for too long the doors will close. If you don’t wait long enough you crash into people coming out. Some exercise of the brain is required here. I hate getting some slug-like entity between me and the elevator who does nothing because they’re too fucking stupid to figure out what’s going on. Then the doors close and I’m left to ruminate on why I didn’t shoulder charge the obvious moron out of my way.
Here’s a tip for the slow learners: try putting your hand on the door frame to hold the door. You can do this while standing out of the way of anyone exiting. And on 99% of elevators this will stop the door from shutting before you can get on. If everyone stands around waiting for someone else to get on first, that isn’t “polite”. It’s fucking stupid!
2. While in the elevator: Don’t listen to people who say you should never talk in an elevator. It’s a fun experiment often given to first year Psychology students to get into an elevator, face the “wrong” way and try to engage people in animated conversations. 99% of people will cringe horribly/amusingly when you do this. But grownups should be able to maintain decorous conversations in an elevator that also contains strangers.
But for the love of the little baby Jeebus, DON’T have loud conversations on a mobile phone. Either hang up before you get in or continue your conversation at a conversational volume. If the person at the other end can’t hear you tell them you’re in an elevator and you’ll call them back. Shouting at a person who isn’t there is fucking obnoxious behaviour to the people who ARE there. It will be your fault if someone decides to see if your phone will double as a rectal thermometer.
Also, when you get in, stand somewhere that makes sense in relation to where you’re getting out. If you’re likely to be getting out the first time the elevator stops, don’t stand right at the back just because you’re the first to get in. Stand to the side near the door but out of the way so other people can come in. That way you can get out again with a minimum of shoving.
Likewise, if you going to be the last one out DON’T STAND IN THE FUCKING DOORWAY! The only time you should ever stand right where the doors open is if there’s no other choice. Or maybe if you’re getting off on the next floor (but if that’s the case, why don’t you take the stairs you lazy bastard?)
And if you are in the doorway because there was no choice, when the door opens and it isn’t your floor, get out of the fucking way! Step out of the goddam lift and hold the door. Then get back in when people have exited. Don’t force people to wriggle past you. Pull that shit with me and you’re likely to get an “accidental” kick to the back of the knee.
So please, people, I’m begging you. There are precious few things that separate us from the beasts. Knowing how to interact with random people without causing trauma is one of them. If you don’t have the mental capacity to navigate an elevator without making other people want to punch your lights out, maybe you’re not enough of a grown up to be part of the workforce. Stay in your home with your 24 cats and leave the rest of us alone.