Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Elevator Etiquette

We're in them almost everyday. There just another part, another room of the building, yet for some reason we all feel the need to change our behavior when we enter the elevator!

Look around next time you enter an occupied or crowded elevator and you'll notice some interesting peculiarities.

Most people enter the elevator and generally saddle up next to one of the railings while staring straight ahead saying absolutely nothing.

Rule number 1 in "Unspoken Elevator Etiquette": Enter, remain absolutely silent, and look at nobody!

I always enjoy the people who are fascinated with the elevator inspection sign. They just stand there staring at it, yet if you were to ask them what they just read, they'd have no idea. It kind of serves as a "target" for people to stare at and pretend to be reading, thus avoiding any "elevator conversation" which we all know is taboo!

Honestly, when I enter the elevator, I do have a couple of small things I do to. I used to always check and see if it was equipped with that little phone behind a door. I always felt more comfortable knowing I had some sort of communication with the outside world, just in case the elevator gets stuck (this was before the age of cell phones).

Sometimes when I'm in a crowded elevator, I casually glance at the max weight sign, then take a guess as to how much load the elevator is carrying. Inevitably, Fatty McFatterson steps on to the elevator at the next floor at which point I start worrying just a tad...especially when you feel the elevator bounce a little everytime it stops!

There's also the issue of holding the elevator door. Its funny how everybody has their own "point of no stoppage" when it comes to holding the elevator door as it starts closing. Some people absolutely refuse to stick an arm out if the door starts closing at all while others will go all the way until you can only fit a finger in to get the door to reopen!

I'm somewhere in between. Even though I know the elevator door isn't going to crush my hand, instinctively its hard to throw an arm in there as the jaws are collapsing!

And now for an interesting elevator story:

In high school, I used to work at a local fitness club as a tennis instructor. When the normal court maintenance guy was gone, I would clean the courts and refill the big water coolers on each court.

Now this was no simple chore because these coolers were pretty big and generally at least half full of water and ice when I had to change them. To compound matters, the cafeteria where we went to replenish the water was upstairs, so carrying each of the coolers up individually would require a mountain of effort which I wasn't willing to give.

To solve this problem, the cafeteria let us use their cart/dolly type thing, if you could call it that. It was basically a rickety board on four multi directional wheels (like on the front of a shopping cart) with a handle that came up to waste height.

It was always an adventure getting the coolers from the tennis courts to the cafeteria. I'd load two or three of these things onto the cart and make my way down the hall and into the elevator.

Brilliantly, the elevator opens up on the second floor directly onto the running track. In order to get to the cafeteria from the elevator, you have to cross this busy track.

Oh but I'm not done!

The track was also elevated about an inch from the ground, so to get over the track, I have to move the cart to the back of the elevator, and gather some speed to get over the hump and onto the track, then maintain this speed to get off the track on the other end.

Brilliant design Mr. Architect.

Theorem 781 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: big water watercoolers + rickety old cart + highspeed bumps = bad news.

So one sunny Saturday, I'm making my way from the cafeteria back to the elevator with three coolers full of water. Crossing the track from the cafe to the elevator is made tougher because, pushing the cart, you can't see around the entry wall for oncoming traffic, so you have to just kind of go, and hope.

So, as usual, I gather speed and push the cart over the bump onto the track. Suddenly, I notice a runner in my path so I stop abruptly to let him pass.

I stopped. The Cart stopped. The Giant Water Coolers kept going.

It was like slow motion. They hit the track, and for an instant, they just layed there. All was safe?...I'm not that lucky. The lids simultaneously popped off from the impact and the water pressure. The running track became a slip n' slide.

Oh but I'm not done.

This spillage occured right in front of the elevator which happened to be right at the corner of the track where it banks for runners. What this means, is all of the water was draining into the elevator shaft!

Did I mention the brilliance of the architects?

I, slightly panicked, first wanted to get the cart and water coolers off of the track. I threw everything in the elevator and went down to unload them and grab towels. The elevator door opened and the only thing I could see was a waterfall in front of me from all the water flowing down the shaft. Once I made it under the water fall, I was greeted by a thoroughly pissed janitorial and maintenance crew.

Management wasn't too happy with me that day. The elevator was "out of order" for the next few days. which meant the normal tennis court maintenance guy had to carry each cooler up the stairs for the rest of the week to fill them.

At least I saved him the trouble of having to observe "Elevator Etiquette."


tim said...

Dude, if you're scared of the elevator door crushing your hand, just use the "door open" button.

Anonymous said...

Waste high--Doon't you mean waist high?

The coolers lay there, not layed there.