Hey, Folks: Silence On Elevators Is Fine


Elevators are a part of our everyday life. So much so that I sometimes just wind up in the elevator without even realizing it. I'm just walking around and a minute later I'm several floors higher. That's wild because 130 years ago it was a contraption (anything new was a "contraption" back then) that awed and terrified the masses.

Now, the scariest thing about elevators is getting stuck in a confining space with a stranger. The second I see someone down the hallway I start mashing that "door close" button like I'm playing Street Fighter. I hate sharing elevators with people I don't know. I'm not scared of catching an infectious disease or getting curb-stomped to death a la Drive. I just don't want to talk.

For some reason, I spent my entire childhood being lectured about the dangers of talking to strangers. I wasn't even supposed to let them give me candy or help them find their lost puppy! Now, as an adult, if I don't talk to a stranger I'm an ass. People need to realize silence is okay. There's nothing wrong with the two of us standing in a dignified manner while trying to burn holes in those metal doors with nothing but our gaze and using whatever telekinetic powers we may have to make those doors open faster.

I'm not against talking to people, but I don't feel like I need to strike up a conversation for the fifteen seconds that the stranger and I will spend together in a metal box. Any conversation held in that amount of time will be worthless. Are we supposed to discuss the elevator itself?

Yeah, this is an Otis. Damn good 'vator. This is the 2,500 lbs model too. They could've cheaped out and gone with the 2,000 pounder, but nope...

That would be terrible. I'd rather be in the Overlook Hotel's elevator alone than in any other not-filled-with-blood elevator with a stranger.

One way I've thought about solving this situation is to say "I'll take the next one," and wait. In COVID times this works just fine, but not in normal times. You get this uncomfortable vibe with the other person because they're wondering why someone would refuse to be elevator partners with them. I could do without the palpable tension while we wait in one for powdered eggs in the hotel lobby.

If you have to share an elevator, just remember there's nothing wrong with silence. No one's day has ever been improved by talking about the weather (except maybe Jim Cantore. That dude starts frothing at the mouth if someone mentions a low-pressure system). Just keep it nice and quiet and go on with your day.

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