Welcome to another edition of our semi-frequent segment 5 Rules to Live By. Every once in a while, we come up with five simple rules to work with, with regards to some sort of social instance or situation. If you have any suggestions for a ruling, let us know, and we'll probably use them. Generally we're going to base the rulings entirely on experience and common sense. Sometimes even the smallest things appear to be difficult for some people. One of those instances – Riding the Elevator. How do we falter with this? When we don't know the rules. Let's do this!...
ALLOW THOSE ON THE ELEVATOR TO GET OFF THE ELEVATOR: I don't know what's wrong with people, I really don't. They're the worst. How many times have you tried to get off an elevator and there was someone on the outside of the doors practically with their face up against the door? I don't get it – you weren't expecting someone to be on the elevator? You know the elevator isn't JUST for you, right?? Also, what is the hurry?? The doors open, people get off, you get on. It doesn't take a lot of your precious time and it's not complicated, and the process isn't going to be any quicker with you leaping onto the elevator the second the doors crack. I'm going to need you two full paces back from the elevator and don't even think about moving until everyone is off. The doors aren't going to slam shut crushing you in a horrifying death grip. Like most children, I used to be convinced that my most likely chance of death was by elevator door... that or by serial killing clown. It was a tie. What? No one else thought this? Whatever, you're 37 now - be patient, the door won't kill you.
IF APPLICABLE, LET A KID PRESS THE BUTTON: For those of you who know me, this won't come as a surprise – I like pushing buttons. Both literally and figuratively. Hell, the introduction to this website is accessed by a button. However, at some point in your mid-to-late twenties you really shouldn't be that excited to press a button to make the elevator go up. You know who IS still into this? Little kids. They can't form full sentences, but they like hitting the 23 to make it light up. If there's a young child on the elevator, ask him or her if he'd like to press the button. Be careful though, the kid should be no older than five years old. Do your best to eyeball it, if they seem to be excited about pressing the floor button for themselves and their parents, then toss it out there. I think it's kind of like judging someone's age as they try to buy a pack of smokes from the 7/11, just try to be close with your age guessing. If you're worried about offending anyone, another good guideline is that they should have a parent with them. If the kid's riding the elevator unsupervised he might be too old to get pumped up about the buttons. You don't want to be the weirdo asking a 10-year old if they want to press the button for you.
SHUT THE FUCK UP: Sorry to get vulgar there, but seriously, get on the elevator and shut the fuck up. If you are in a conversation so engrossing that you can't take a 45-second timeout so as not to drive others insane then don't get on the elevator. It's a tiny box that I HAVE to be on, there's literally no way to ignore you talking about your botched Brazilian. Hop in, quiet down, let's get through this ride, and then yap away once we all get out and get some fresh air. The world will be a better place. This rule applies for people speaking foreign languages as well. Just 'cause we don't know what the hell you're saying doesn't mean it's not insanely annoying. In fact, it may be more so. Just остановить. My favourite one (the type of favourite that people have that are not in any way their favourite and are in fact, their least favourite) is the guy attempting to make or take a call while on the elevator. OK, yes, sometimes it works, the fact that the phone is ringing means that there is some signal. However, like most surprisingly good things, it's not going to last. Wait on making the call, or let it go to voicemail. It's 2012; you'll be able to get hold of the person somehow via, I don't know - call, text, email, Facebook wall post, Facebook message, tweet, messenger, mail, or carrier pigeon. Don't panic, it's just a phone call. You'll figure it out.
PEOPLE CARRYING STUFF GO LAST: This is a controversial one. We're all good people. You're a good person, right? Sure you are. I myself am decent. Instinctually, as good people, we let those in some sort of distress go first in a variety of situations. Old people get on the plane first. Women and children get shotgun on a lifeboat (unless you're in Italy). People carrying stuff get doors opened for them. This is just people helping people, right? However, in an elevator situation the door opens automatically, so you're not really doing anything to help there. All you ARE doing is putting pressure on the person with the laundry basket to get their shit and get off the elevator before the doors close and crush them to death. Also, now you're stuck behind them as they drag whatever sack of crap down the hallway, or through the lobby and are regretting letting them go first. They know this, and they feel guilty. Why? Because they're good people too. (Unless they were trying to talk on their cell in the elevator, in which case they’re a soulless asshole). You've been in both situations; you know that you want everyone else out of the elevator so that then you can tote your stuff at your own pace. So if I don't want to be stuck behind you, and you don't want me trailing you, awkwardly walking at half speed, then let's just agree- carriers hang back, non-carriers out first. In exchange, non-carriers are to give that one-arm-against-the-door move that keeps it from closing, thus buying the carrier a couple extra seconds to get their shit together. There, I feel better.
SHARE THE SPACE, EYES FORWARD: This shouldn't be that complicated. Then again, nothing that we've touched upon should be that complicated, but somehow this can be confusing to some people. The 2-person elevator ride is an easy one, you get your side, I get mine. It's when multiple people get involved is where it gets dicey. I'm not going to get into charts and diagrams with you, but let's just use the space wisely. For starters, let's stay linear, shoulders square to the door. I've seen some lunatics, who lean back on the sidewall facing the centre of the elevator, so that while they may or may not actually BE staring at me, it certainly feels like they are. Lord knows I'm not going to look them in the eye on an elevator. That's just sick. All I ask is that we use the space and all look the same direction. Do your best to stay 18 inches away at all times. If things get packed in we can work around it and make some exceptions, but only if we're all facing in the same direction. As an aside, and also relating to rule two, get in the elevator, hit the button and move away from the number menu. If I'm getting on after you, I don't really feel like I should have to battle to get to my floor like I'm battling Dennis Rodman for a rebound in the Eastern Conference Finals. In a similar vein, if you are standing next to the door, and it opens on a floor that isn't yours, there's a decent chance someone else is trying to get off. Maybe you need the human interaction, but Sir, you've come to the wrong place.
Then again maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm over-thinking this. It wouldn't be the first time. Hopefully, we can all get on the same page one day. If not, you can't say I didn't try. My advice? Just have a plan out there people, and for the love of God, be careful.
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