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Friday, March 26, 2010

Elevator Etiquette

We abide by certain societal norms whether we realize it or not, e.g. pooping in private and elevator etiquette. Even the most hardened criminal, or craziest mental patient, will silently look upward upon entering an elevator. Trust me. I’ve been in elevators with all kinds of folks.

The general practice of getting on an elevator consists of standing as far away from the other occupants as possible, and only breaking the silence with, “third floor, please.” Well, this doesn’t jive with me. What better way to fill the awkward silence, than with an awkward conversation that everyone knows you won’t have time to finish.

I got on an elevator just yesterday en route to a doctor’s appointment. A stranger lady had gotten there before me which gave her the unspoken advantage of being in control of the buttons. I spoke through the disappointment. “Second floor, please.”

I noticed she was wearing a University of Alabama jacket and was carrying what looked like some sort of team posters. “Are you from Alabama?” I asked. “No, but my son goes to school there,” she replied. “I’m from Alabama myself.” I told her. She pulled out a poster and beamed,
“My son plays on the tennis team.” “That’s wonderful,” I told her. “You must be very proud. Which one is he?”

“He’s the one on the far left.” Her voice trailed off. “….with the hickeys all over his neck.”
I couldn’t hold back the laughter. “Boys will be boys,” I said, but she didn’t laugh with me. Nervously, I continued, “At least he’s having a good time.” Thankfully, the elevator doors opened and I managed to escape without having to endure any more of the obvious tension.

I walked away with another awkward elevator encounter under my belt and couldn’t help but wonder who else, but a mother, could muster such pride for their child in the face of hickey adversity? Who, I ask you?