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Is there anything worse than being in a confined space with strangers?
Probably shoving your hand in a meat grinder, but it’s close.
Nowhere on Earth are strangers thrust together in close quarters more frequently than they are in an elevator.
Your journey from one floor to another will be awkward. Why and to what degree you never know. You could be stuck gasping for air if one of your unwanted travel companions is pumping out some spicy B.O..
But do you know what we don’t need to do on elevators?
I took some elevator rides over the weekend (yeah, I’m snazzy that way) and I was amazed by how many people can’t just keep their mouths shut and stare through the steel elevator door in a solemn and dignified manner.
They have to talk about something — anything — and most of the time it’s not to anyone. They’re just throwing a conversational line in the water because they can’t stand a moment of silence inside of Elisha Otis’ contraption that nearly put stairs out of business.
But what we don’t need is people who talk for the sake of talking because they can’t stand a silent ride down to the hotel lobby.
Those are the people that need to be stopped.
The People Who Talk For The Sake Of Talking Are A Scourge
This very thing happened to me over the weekend. I was in a hotel and had to take a brief elevator ride. A small, multigenerational family joined me inside my elevator despite me mashing the “door close” button like I was trying to set the high score on Space Invaders.
The second the doors closed ahead of the ride that would be over in somewhere between 18 and 20 seconds, the grandmother decided to shatter the silence.
“My knee burst from riding that bike earlier.”
No one responded, not even her own family. How could they? It wasn’t a question, nor was it interesting. Were the rest of us supposed to say, “Damn; sorry to hear that. What kind of bike are we talking about? A 10-speed? Mountain Bike? Wasn’t a tandem was it?”
Of course not.
So that waste of breath and words couldn’t have waited until you were out of the elevator… why?!
This is exactly the kind of inane banter that people spew when they’re not comfortable with silence in an elevator. I’ve seen it countless times. You can always tell this is the case when they launch into a story completely unprompted.
Nothing could’ve set that declaration in motion aside from a hatred of sweet, sweet silence. Nothing. And I know this because I’ve been obsessed with it for the last few days.
Let’s Fix This With Quiet Elevators
I think something needs to be done about this. We usually encounter elevators in groups of at least two, so why couldn’t one be considered the “quiet car?”
I mean, if I was in a hurry I’d take my chances in the normal elevator, but if I had the time, I’d wait for the quiet elevator more often than not.
All we’d need is a sign that says something like “Hey, no talking.” Then if someone throws out one of these anti-silence banalities, I can just passively aggressively clear my throat and point at the sign.
Then I’m not the douchebag in that situation. They are because they broke the rules.
A little bit of silence goes a long way, especially in a jam-packed elevator full of people who don’t want to be there.
So, the next time you feel the need to make some proclamation — because god forbid you sit in silence for half a minute — keep your mouth shut until you’re out of the elevator.
Then, once everyone has poured out — like a load of blood spilling out of an Overlook Hotel elevator — feel free to start spewing your nonsense once again.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle