Elevator Etiquette

March 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

elevator-up3For the past two years, I’ve lived on the top floor of my building of residence. This gave me the right to take the elevator, although stairs would probably be more beneficial to my physical health. Somehow, going up four flights of stairs this year leaves me just as winded as going up seven last year.

The elevators in my apartment building this year are even older than the ones from last year’s dorm, which is quite an unhappy statement, since the elevators in my dorm were notorious for breaking. Although I’ve never been stuck in the elevators, I do still have some complaints.

The “up” and “down” buttons are such that they do not light up when pressed, although they look like they’re supposed to light up [the above photo is the actual button. Totally misleading]. Perhaps they illuminated at one point, but not anymore. This led me to an interesting experience.

A few weeks ago, as I left for my class on Thursday morning, I walked into the elevator area of the fourth floor, pressed the down button, and stood in front of the button panel as I waited for an elevator. A few seconds later, an Indian girl entered the area from the other side, and even though I was standing right in front of the down button between the two elevator doors, she came over and pushed the button again.

Granted, the button was not lit, but I did make it rather obvious that I was waiting for an elevator. Did she think I was just standing there for fun? No idea. I brushed off the incident and didn’t think about it until the next Thursday.

The same Indian girl and I entered the elevator area from different sides at the same time. I didn’t particularly notice her at first, since I was busy listening to my iPod, but right after I reached over to push the down button, she did the exact same thing. Right in front of my face. As if I had not just pressed it the previous second. Or as if I might have not pressed it effectively.

Then, my memories of the first occurrence came back to me, and I kind of gaped in disbelief. Really?? What was this person thinking? I was utterly confused and a little bit annoyed, even though it was such a trivial matter.

The other issue I have with the elevators also has to do with the buttons. Inside the actual elevators, the buttons do not even have the potential to light up because they’re the vintage black kind that stick out of the wall and are the size of a water bottle cap. And there is only an “open door” button, not one to close the doors.

A couple of days ago, I got on the elevator on the fourth floor once again. On the way down, it stopped at the third floor. A tall Asian guy stepped inside and pressed the “open door” button as if it were a “close door” button; he wasn’t waiting for anyone, and somehow the elevator ignored this order and proceeded to close the doors immediately.

I was flummoxed by both events. First of all, was this guy illiterate to the extent that he couldn’t read “open”? Did he forget that it was not a “close door” button? What is going on with all these crazy people who ride the elevator?

On another occasion, I reached the elevator on the first floor just as the doors were beginning to close. The two people who had just gotten off that elevator watched me as I struggled with my entire body to shove open the elevator doors, eventually giving up for fear of being squished. Later I realized that the doors open if one waves one’s arm in front of the chest-level sensors in the doors, but they will continue to close if one tries using brute force. Elevators are so weird.

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