My wife and I just moved from a country home back into the city and apartment living. We joke that we are getting a head start on what retired life will look like. The easy proximity of stores and amenities is convenient. We are now close once again to family. We have also gratefully waved goodbye for good to the endless property maintenance and upkeep of a large home and grounds. So far, everything has been an enjoyable transition including relearning to exist in closer quarters.
But… the elevator is driving me nuts.
It’s not the elevator itself, mind you. The elevator is fast and quiet. I don’t find myself waiting an inordinately long time. The problem is other people. Some other people.
Having not lived in a building with an elevator for twenty years or more, it took me a few weeks to reacquaint myself with elevator etiquette. What I can’t seem to understand, however, is that many residents who seemingly have lived here for years still have not mastered some of the basics.
Most notably, I submit that the most obvious faux pas is to be standing right at the threshold of the doors as you await their opening. They do it on the way in and on the way out. What is wrong with you people!?
When you are in the elevator, you need to stand back from the doors to allow others to join you as the elevator travels. When you are waiting to get on, you have to stand back from the doors to let any current occupants get out first. Why would you assume you are the only one in the whole building and just start blindly walking in as soon as the doors part?
I fantasize about performing a football-style kickoff, swinging my foot straight up through the gap as soon as the elevators doors part. I would do this coming in and getting off. And I’ll just keep repeating this move until everyone in the building has been reprogrammed to keep a respectable distance and delay their charge until they are confident it is their turn.
As Archie Bunker used to tell Meathead: “Just do it that way and do it that way for the rest of your life.”
For some reason some of our neighbours seem to have an interesting combo-pack of awkward elevator dance moves. Firstly, they seem to be under the mistaken impression that you need to press the button indicating which way you want the elevator to come instead of the the way you want it to go. For example, if in the lobby, wishing to go up, they will push the down (presumably to make the elevator come down) and then once inside press the button to go up to their floor (of course we are all now taking a quick visit to the basement first). And secondly, they will completely freak out if there is a dog on the other side of the elevator doors. They are of course nearly always completely startled, as they have usually raced through the doors with nary a glance first.
The etiquette of elevator entry and egress seem simple enough to master within a smattering of encounters, so if you feel it’s not quite within your grasp may I suggest the stairwell.