Saturday, December 20, 2008

54 - People who don't follow 'the rules' in an elevator

People all over the world conform to a set of unwritten rules* which dictates what is appropriate behavior and what is not in an elevator (especially one that is packed).

1. You are not permitted to speak to anyone, including a person you know.
2. You must avoid eye contact with others at all times.
3. You are to maintain a ‘poker face’ - no emotion is permitted to be displayed.
4. If you have a book or newspaper, you must appear to be deeply engrossed in it.
5. The bigger the crowd, the less the body movement you are permitted to make.
6. In elevators, you are compelled to watch the floor numbers above your head.

It's extremely annoying when any of these rules are broken. Just compare.

1. If you open your mouth to say something to a person you know, everyone else is made fairly uncomfortable having to listen to this personal conversation. The person on the receiving end of the conversation may also experience some discomfort as he/she has no choice but to let everyone else listen to the details of their private lives. If you open your mouth to someone you don't know, that's just weird.

2. Ah, the eye contact thing. It's awkward. It's very uncomfortable. People who do it are annoying.

3. If you're laughing, it makes others feel weird. If you're frowning, it may disturb a few people.

4. This is a toss-up for me, because I consider both to be annoying, whether you're not reading your book or whether you're pretending to be engrossed in it. I think the best thing to do is to leave a finger in your reading material to keep the page and wait until exit the elevator.

5. Body movement is a nono. It's irritating when someone keeps shaking their leg up and down, or even perhaps jumps, causing the whole elevator to move. Besides, it's a confined space. Moving at all, taking up more room, is unwise.

6. I hate it when people watch the numbers. Again, it's my whole liking to subtlety. When people gawk upwards at the numbers like they're all about to be abducted, it's not subtle at all. I don't know. Maybe it just annoys me.

Another one of these elevator-situated annoyances is when the elevator starts beeping because there's too much weight. Either people don't really care as they're content being at the back of the elevator, or people fight over who gets to step out and be the sacrificial benefactor for everybody. I try not to enter elevators that appear to almost be sustaining too much weight, if I can help it.

Do you hate people who break these rules too?

*Taken from Body Language: How to read others' thoughts by their gestures by Allan Pease.


Mulled Vine said...

My pet annoyance is the use of mobile phones in public places, but particularly in elevators.

Marcy said...

I have to admit to breaking a lot of these rules, along with my husband. He does weird things on purpose to annoy people -- like saying off-the-wall things or farting. It's for his own amusement. So, beware if I'm in an elevator with you, I may say hello. If you're in an elevator with my husband, well, you've been warned.


Douglas said...

I have been known to snicker quietly on occasion while riding in an elevator full of people. If I am with another person, I tend to discuss elevator accidents.

If we can't have any fun in life at the expense of others, what's the point?

Michael said...

Mulled Vine: In our school and in most elevators in Hong Kong, reception is lost so I rarely get the opportunity to get irritated by phones in those places.

Marcy: Perhaps it's the difference between Eastern and Western attitudes toward behavior in public. I generally like friendly greetings in the elevator, in the supermarket, just for some smalltalk and chatter. Here in Hong Kong, though, it's a bit weird.

As for releasing gas, that's not good...

Douglas: I snicker in my head, almost everywhere I go. Hehe. And yes, other people's 'bad' experiences provide us with a better experience.

absolute said...

oops!! The last time I was in a lift I was joking with a stranger and watching the numbers. Please don't hate me! But seriously, I love it when people talk to me in lifts

The Drifter said...

Hello Michael,

Thank You for commenting on my page. I think yours is quite interesting.

Writers Block said...

I normally always conform to these rules to be honest, but it is sometimes quite fun to break them. My favourite is to stand with your back to the doors grinning - makes everyone kinda nervous, the busier the elevator the better!

Michael said...

absolute: Depends on who it is, really, and which country you are in. Here in Hong Kong, it is quite the opposite from Western elevators, so you are lucky.

The Drifter: Thanks for paying a visit.

Writer's Block: Hahaha. That is quite horrible when you find yourself with your back to the entrance/exit. You have to face people and it's quite amusing.

Anonymous said...

You know what annoys me in elevators, when people press the floor they want to go to - then stand infront of the buttons so no one can get to them! That annoys me no end.
Also, have you ever noticed that when you walk into an elevator everyone automatically turns around to face the door not the mirror? I wonder what would happen if someone didn't turn around to face the door...the thought is quite disturbing!

Michael said...

Vivienne: Very true. The button thing is annoying.

It would probably confuse and disturb the crowd inside.

Anonymous said...

Only one rule in an elevator - no farting.


Michael said...

Always stopping by to drop some wise words, AV.

Charli said...

OMG. I AM one of those people. This is really embarrassing. Shit.

Michael said...

Oh, shit. You do have redeeming qualities, though, right?

Charli said...

Um. Like, two. I don't talk with my mouth open. And I don't have any tattoos. Other than that, I'm pretty much just an elevator asshole. Maybe I'll reform, though. You've shown me the way. It's a Christmas Miracle.

Michael said...

You don't talk with your mouth open when you don't have food in your mouth. I hope that's what you meant. If you did mean that, that would be quite a talent.

God bless everyone!

Michael said...

A talent... either that or my brain lacks the capacity to comprehend what you actually mean with the words.

Charli said...

No! What I meant was... I'm a VENTRILOQUIST! Okay. No. You're right. I don't talk with my mouth FULL. I need caffeine.

Michael said...

THERE'S THE WORD. Ventriloquist. Wow, you brought back two words to me. Thank you so much.

Hope you get your caffeine.

Hippie said...

There was this one time when I was in an elevator on my way from the lobby to the 15th floor when I got the hi-coughs. There were a few businessman looking guys, a fancily dressed woman and two kids in suits. I was so embarrassed. Luckily, my friend was with me so he convinced me with his immature ways to go all out and have fun being obnoxious. Haha, I would have never done it otherwise and if someone else was I would have been pretty annoyed. But oh well, blame the hi-cough.

Michael said...

Hippie: Oh, the hi-cough is annoying for oneself and others. It must have been the claustrophobia or lack of oxygen that caused it.