Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Like cows in the city, they never looked so pretty

The Culture Of The Elevator

Elevators have been a part of the office culture since people started getting real lazy and making alot of money. They teleport us to the next region of heaven or hell while we feel almost helpless as the metal cart travels north or south at unknown speeds. Time on an elevator alone can be enlightening or gut wrenching. Traveling on the elevator with others can be a harrowing experience.
When we first step onto the metal box consumed in white noise it's almost surreal. It's comparable to watching a sporting event in a dome for the first time. You are somewhat trapped, but you know there is still alot of room to move. Not that you can do much moving in the elevator, but it moves itself.
The button is pushed, the doors close, the breath is held for a second and almost everyone on an elevator looks upwards. Sometimes to check how close you are to the desired floor, but many look up because it can be somewhat akward in an elevator.
Getting packed in an elevator when you first get into work in the morning can turn into an anxiety ridden event. First off you don't feel like being squished next to Bob from sales and the dude from the web design department that smells like patchouli. (Wiki or Google Patchouli...you will know what it is...or smells like.) Second there is the fear of a conversation with someone from your department that is simply going to bombard you with small talk about your weekend or the weather over the weekend. There is also the threat of morning breath with everyone in the elevator causing people to talk with their mouths closed or they will slyly place their hands in front of their mouth the block to stink germs.
Being on the elevator with just one other person can be troublesome too. If you don't know them there might be a stale hello when you first step on, but what's next? The aforementioned upwards stare. It's bound to happen. The other person with you might lightly clap their hands or casually look at their cell. You might even catch them peering at you for a second, but they quickly flash their eyes upward when you are caught giving a counter-glance. When your tandem elevator ride finally comes to an end you are relieved and ready to sit at your desk and do nothing.
There is also some elevator lingo other than horrendous small talk that is thrown around from time to time to lighten the situation. If you are on an elevator in a building that is only a couple of floors, you have instant comedy. If all the buttons have been pushed and you have to stop at every floor before your floor hits this is usually said: "Looks like were taking the local!" It is usually said by an older balding guy in the office who has been using the line for ages. That is when you fake laugh but cover your mouth in case of bad breath right before you start akwardly staring upwards at nothing.
A CLOSE DOORS button on the elevator is like that EASY button seen in Staples commercials. It can save your mental life. If the IT dude who is never going to stop talking about the upcoming Transformers movie is coming down the hall towards the elevator...BOOM. You just light that CLOSE DOORS button and don't even think about it. Maybe he was in a hurry, but you deserve a ride alone.
Riding alone is sometimes accompanied by singing. I asked several people and they too feel themselves belting out a tune in the elevator when traveling solo. You need to be aware as to when the box is going to stop at the next floor so you don't get caught singing a New Edition song that you secretly rock on your IPOD.
The culture of the elevator needs to be studied more, and a list of rules should be placed in the elevator.
1. No Talking (Especially on your cell)
2. No looking upwards
3. Don't tell a horrible joke (See rule #1)
4. You have a right to dick someone with the CLOSE DOORS button
5. Take the fucking stairs sometimes

Coming up next: Rules and Regulations When Riding a Monorail