We say they’re going down, especially in our hometown of New York City. What is it about New Yorkers who treat other New Yorkers like the Invisible Man, Woman or Child? How about a nod or a basic greeting, something more humane than walking onto an elevator and distributing the silent treatment?
Cell phones and BlackBerrys don’t help. Now, there’s really no reason to recognize anyone else, we’re too busy fielding phone calls and answering emails. Neighbors think nothing of getting on an elevator and holding conversations as if they’re the only ones on it. At the very least, a whispered, “Excuse me,” says plenty. It says, “I know this is rude to hold a conversation that has nothing to do with you and is invasive to the space we’re in.” Of course, if your phone rings during the ride it’s not your fault, you can either answer it so that the ring doesn’t become a Muzak tune or you can turn it off or answer it and quickly say, “I’ll call you back.”
Babies and their state of the art strollers rule. However, most caregivers and parents are usually very nice about acknowledging the space they’re about dominate as you’re squished into a corner. They’re also more apt to greet you - there’s something you can take to the first floor. But as these babies grow, parents will often let them practice their first steps getting on and off the elevator, this is fine as long as no one else is on it or waiting for one. Otherwise, there’s nothing much to do about precious moments like these except grin and bear it.
Getting off the elevator is another trip. Babies and their equipment get off first, then women and the elderly and then everyone else. In a rush to get off, no one thinks about the doors closing in the face of ‘everyone else’.
“I don’t like it when someone treats a public elevator as if it’s their private elevator” a friend pointed out. She explained that there’s nothing more annoying than someone on the elevator holding the doors open while having a conversation with someone off the elevator. That’s as bad as the person who can’t fathom waiting for another elevator so he/she slices in between the doors with their hand just as the doors were closing and everyone else who waited fair and square were thinking they were on their way.
Speaking of conversation, how soon we forget when an elevator works efficiently. We’re talking about ungrateful riders who get on and when they realize they’re on a functioning elevator as it stops for others as it stopped for them, they say, “Local,” as if the elevator did something wrong. Poor elevators and poor us if we get stuck on this one.