The Awkward Elevator
Two things I have always regarded as fearsomely uncomfortable: 1) small, claustrophobic rooms and 2) complete strangers. Not in my wildest dreams would I have combined the two. But someone, perhaps someone with wilder dreams than mine, thought to, and called it “the elevator.”
I avoided these in my younger years by taking the stairs, but when I came to PCC as a freshman, living on 8th floor left me little choice but to embrace the awkward elevator.
Now, elevators at Pensacola Christian College are uncommonly nice—clean and full of wonderful people—but still, they are unquestionably small rooms filled with complete strangers, and there is little one can do to get beyond that, and it might be strange if someone tried. I’m not sure.
That said, an elevator ride at PCC does not have to be an unpleasant experience. Here are a few helpful tips to better elevator etiquette.
1) Do you live on 2nd floor? Hmm. Rule of thumb: when in doubt, take the stairs.
2) Don’t listen to those email chains about “Eleven hypothetical ways to make a fool of yourself in an elevator and get away with it since you read it on the internet.” I tried it. It’s not funny.
3) Don’t be the one to stand in the corner, talking loudly on your cell phone. “Sorry, Aunt Margie, I’m on an elevator with a bunch of people, so I can’t talk right now. Yeah. It’s kind of awkward. As soon as they finally all get off, I can finish my personal conversation about Uncle Richard’s triple bypass knee-cap replacement surgery. On his knee-cap. Yesterday. Surgery.”
4) Don’t complain, “Hey, who’s the windbag that pushed ___ floor and didn’t get off when the doors opened!?!” Um. Safe guess is they’re probably still on the elevator. Everyone makes their elevator-errors sometimes!
5) Careful about coughing and sneezing and blowing and sniffling. Some of these things are good, yes, even necessary to do. But in an elevator setting, everyone begins to stiffen up and warily eyeball the elevator buttons, and each other, and breathe short, rapid breaths into their sleeves and book bags. Be aware!
6) Use the elevator as an opportunity to make friends! You are all young people at very similar places in life: trying to honor and grow in Christ, cram for classes, get Fine Arts dates, and run errands to Walmart. AND you’re both on an elevator. Look at that! You will often find on our PCC elevators that your peers will be warmly receptive, even grateful, that someone was brave enough in a small room full of strangers, to look beyond themselves and meet a few new students!
Next time you step into an elevator, don’t look at it as something to endure; look at it as an opportunity, and remember these few, simple rules of Elevator Etiquette.1