The Art of Elevators

Today as I stepped in the elevator and rose to the 20th floor, a thought struck me. I’ve spent more time in elevators in the past two and a half months than in the rest of my twenty-two years combined.

This makes me an expert. For instance, a fact I did not know before, perhaps because I had yet to enter a building more than three stories high: Elevators (at least in my building, perhaps not in more modern enlightened ones) skip the 13th floor. I’m not really sure why, because this just makes the 14th floor the 13th. I suppose it’s meant to soothe our superstitious unease — like an opiate for the dim-witted business executives.

I am also adept at the art of elevator conversation, particularly when initiated by young men. Sometimes we discuss climate change:

Stolid youth: “Sure is hot.”

Little chick: “Yeah. I think I might start to believe global warming.”

Stolid youth, gravely: “You’d better believe it. It’s coming.”

But most of the time we discuss the merits of the young man himself:

Pompous Boy: “God, I’m tired.”

Little chick: “Why?”

Pompous Boy: “Because I was up at 4:00 in the morning doing a conference call with fabulously wealthy and very important people somewhere in Europe or Asia.”

Little chick: “Oh.”

Pompous Boy: “Yeah. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

Although sometimes we talk about me:

Gangly kid: “Are you going to work out?”

Little chick: “I just did.”

Gangly kid: “Oh. You don’t look like you did.”

There’s the perfunctory smile and tepid nod. The demure, mannerly stare at either the doors or the numbers above. The conversation – not so interesting that it can’t naturally end with “have a nice day” when the doors open up. The silent “after you” gesture, and exit. It’s a delicate art.


~ by stultiloquence on November 9, 2007.

One Response to “The Art of Elevators”

  1. Glad to see you join us on WordPress. I just added you to my RSS reader. Non-automotive methods of transportation are so fascinating.

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