Going Up.

O.k., so a couple of weeks ago, I ranted a little bit about why people should use revolving doors when the opportunity arises. Today we’re going to go a few steps further into the building and talk about the elevator.

As a kid I was absolutely fascinated with the elevator. You hopped in, pressed a button and faster than you can say “whoosh”, you were on your way to the selected floor. The elevator would bump around on the rails a little bit but you’d make it with the least amount of effort required. Since I grew up in a small town, the only time we really rode elevators is when we went to a hospital or office building in downtown Syracuse. It wasn’t very often.

Then when I was a sophomore in high school, we visited the local college to get a grip on what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives and 22 students piled into an elevator designed to hold less than that. The elevator got stuck between floors for 20 minutes or so and there was a burning smell coming from some place. We assumed the cables were burning through and we were going to plunge to our death. Needless to say, we got out of the situation unscathed but it freaked me out for the next five or ten years. I wouldn’t get on an elevator at all, opting to walk regardless of the number of stairs I had to climb. In fact, to this day I can’t get on a crowded elevator without thinking twice about it.

I eventually got over my fear of elevators for the most part. Prior to my current job, I worked on the top floor of a 16 story office building, and elevator etiquette fascinated me there as well. Quick side note: I did get stuck alone in the elevator in that building and being the brave soul that I am, I decided that the best way to get the elevator moving again was to jump. So I jumped up and down until it started moving. In fact everytime I jumped I chanted, “LET – ME – OUT”. But I never panicked.

Anyways, I find it amazing that some people just don’t “get” an elevator. At work, I’ll be going from our floor to the basement to work on some equipment and will almost always stop at the lobby to let others on the elevator off. About 75% of the time, those waiting for the elevator will either ask “Is this going up?” or will get on and then become annoyed because it’s heading down and not up. First of all, this is a standard elevator with colorful lights that indicate the direction of travel when the door is open. In fact, there are two sets of lights – one over the door in the lobby, and a second on the door frame inside the elevator. (I wonder what would happen if the two didn’t match?) There’s also a pleasing chime noise to keep people calm. Is it really that difficult to take note of the light flashing over the door to note which way the elevator is going?

Another thing that kind of intrigues me are these people that have no idea what floor they want to go to so they punch every button available to them, aside from STOP, and then look out from the door when the elevator stops at floor after floor. “No, this isn’t it.” “Nope, this isn’t it either.” They did that in the other building too, where several floors had been abandoned years ago and the only thing on those floors were cranky pigeons and lots of bird poop. “I guess this isn’t your floor, either.”

Then of course we have the people that are SO anxious to get to work that they refuse to let those on the arriving elevator out. They start jamming themselves in regardless of the fact that 1. the elevator is full and 2. the people on the elevator wish to get off. I would often see a similar situation on the subway, it was very popular on the Boston T at Government Center and at Alewife.

And what is it with people hogging the elevator buttons? They park themselves right in front of the control panel and then don’t say anything. Uh, how about a “what floor?” Instead you have to push them out of the way and select your floor. I’ve tried to set an example by standing in front of the buttons and asking the floor, but I’ve been ignored, glared at and shoved aside while the others select their own floor. Such bitterness in the world today.

And lastly, once in a while you’ll get some yo-yo that gets on the elevator apparently just to ride. (Must be they like the muzak or something). They don’t select a floor. They just get on and seemingly WILL the elevator to stop at their desired stop. Finally, they’ll croak out something like, “How do I get to the bank?” Since they walked by the bank to get on the elevator in the first place, I usually instruct them to press “B”.

I know, I’m mean.