Technology is an amazing thing, isn’t it? Just look at the advances technology has made over the years. We have picture within a picture television, which is good if you can focus on more than one thing at a time – like a fly. There are airbags in our cars to prevent us from injury, unless, of course, a sharp piece of metal punctures the airbag, during the crash, causing it to deflate and sending the steering wheel column out the back of your head. And there’s the elevator. Many jokes have been written about the elevator, like, “The stock market has been up and down more than an elevator.” Or, uh, okay, maybe that’s the only joke written about an elevator.
Some elevators feature security cameras, many have digital floor readings and some are even voice activated. “Thirty-ninth floor. Please watch your step.” I can only imagine that it will be just a matter of time before elevators, in tall buildings, will be featuring stewards handing out meals and showing in-flight movies. “Today’s presentation will be ‘The Towering Inferno.’”
One thing that hasn’t changed about the elevator is Elevator Etiquette. People will get on an elevator, like voiceless mannequins, staring up at the numbers of the floors as they pass by and hoping that someone in the elevator doesn’t speak to them.
Has Society become that rigid that we’re afraid that someone is going to speak to us in an elevator? I say, “Yes.” I also say, “Lighten up.” We’re all on this crazy planet together, so why not be a little less rigid and a little more pleasant? That’s why I’ve developed the “Carl Megill Handbook of Elevator Etiquette in the New Millennium.” Here are some fun things you can do on your next elevator ride.
1. Even if you are spoken to on an elevator, most elevator trips are only about thirty seconds long. It’s not likely you are going to develop some lifelong relationship with that person. And, what topic would you most likely be discussing? The effects of American involvement in the Middle East? I don’t think so. Most likely, you’ll be discussing the age old favorite – the weather. Here’s a simple conversation even you could initiate:
You: Nice day out there.
You: May rain tomorrow.
Them: I hope not.
You: Well, this is my floor.
Them: Have a nice day.
You: Take care.
Almost nauseating, isn’t it? But, a real no-brainer. You’ve been courteous, informative and, yet, no threat of any future involvement with that person.
2. If you would like to make the conversation a little less impersonal and perhaps even get you a laugh, you can say something like, “Isn’t it amazing that this elevator was named after the same guy who used to get drunk on Saturday nights and would lock himself up in the jail on ‘The Andy Griffith Show?’”
3. If you’re feeling daring, the next time you are on a crowded elevator, get a sing-a-long going with the music being piped in from WDUL. Of course, it will be necessary for you to know the words to “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”, “Somewhere My Love” and “Muskrat Love.”
4. If you’re really feeling daring, call the radio station from the handy, emergency telephone, that the elevator supplies, and have them dedicate a song to the group on the elevator. “Alright, this is Bobby Boring on WDUL dedicating the next number to those wacky folks on Elevator Number Three, in the Hitchcock Building. Here you go guys, it’s the Fifth Dimension and ‘Up, Up And Away.’”
5. Speaking of using the telephone, if everyone on the elevator has the time, hit the Emergency Button and let everyone have a chance to call someone and ask them if their refrigerator is running. It will loosen things up and make for a memorable ride for everyone.
If you follow these suggestions, this should make for a less rigid Society and a lot more fun for all. (Incidentally, if the building custodian should complain about the misuse of the elevator, the next time, use the emergency telephone to have a dozen pizzas sent to his house.)