I work in a building with an elevator, and I wonder whether you might not share with your readers some basic etiquette regarding these public spaces. 1) When waiting for an elevator, stand a little off to the side so that those who are already on the elevator will have room to exit. 2) Upon entering the elevator, stand as far away from other occupants as space will allow. If possible, move toward the back wall, leaving plenty of room for others to enter or exit. 3) If you are closest to the button panel, appoint yourself the elevator operator and ask the others which floors they'd like to be let out on. 4) If you are the elevator operator and someone is hurrying toward the elevator from a reasonable distance, press the 'Door Open' button and wait for them. If they are not hurrying and/or are not that close, allow the door to shut. 5) While riding in the elevator, engage only in discreet, polite conversation.
If followed properly, these simple rules would make my average day a bit more pleasant. So I'd appreciate it if you passed them on. Thanks!
Otis: I'm more than happy to pass along your little guidelines. I only wish that you had included some of my own little guidelines, which, if followed properly, would make my average day a bit more pleasant. Here, in no particular order, is my list of pet peeves ' rules, I mean.
Upon entering the elevator, stand facing the doors. Facing the back wall or one of the side walls, as I used to do during my Dadaist phase, freaks everybody out. So face forward, both eyes glued to the floor-number light display, as if one were under hypnosis. Staring at one's feet, as a respite from staring at the numbers, is permitted. But under no circumstances should one make eye contact with a fellow occupant, especially if said occupant is facing either the back wall or one of the side walls.
Talking is strictly forbidden, unless one is the sole occupant of the elevator, in which case one may ask oneself which floor one wants, then chuckle lightly to oneself because one of course already knows which floor one wants. Should a fellow occupant try to engage one in conversation, one should either not answer at all or redirect the conversation to such neutral topics as the weather and last night's game. If there was no game last night, last night's weather will do. If there was no weather last night, go with that old stand-by: stem-cell research.
No farting, unless one is the sole occupant of the elevator, in which case one should still go through the motions of pretending the smell came from elsewhere ' an air vent, perhaps. If, for reasons beyond one's control, one farts when there are others present, simply do the math. If there is only one other occupant, stare at him or her as if...well, as if he or she just farted! (I know I said to avoid all eye contact, but rules, like winds, are made to be broken.) If there are multiple occupants, choose one and stare at him or her until such a time as everybody else is staring at him or her. Then look away.
Do not mug a fellow occupant. But if, for reasons beyond your control, you feel utterly compelled to mug a fellow occupant, wait until he or she is in a darkened hallway or, better yet, the parking lot. And say thank you!
Do not murder a fellow occupant. I shouldn't even have to say this, but you'd be surprised the number of times people go ahead and do it anyway. Should you feel utterly compelled to murder a fellow occupant, please a) avoid eye contact with them, b) don't say anything to them and, for crissakes, 3) don't fart on them. Show a little courtesy!
To press my emergency button, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.