I just spend ten days in hotel that only had stairs in case of a fire emergency. Needless to say I had lots of experience riding elevators. The more I rode, the more I wished for a set of stairs, even if that meant being out of breath and taking a little longer to reach my room.
I still haven’t figured out the proper way to act in an elevator. Do you engage the people in there with you? Or do you pretend to stare intently at the screen and watch the floor numbers change? Is it rude to make small talk, or is it rude to pretend that they’re not there?
Both ways can be equally awkward. Like when the older man in the elevator started making slightly unnerving remarks about how beautiful our eyes were when we still had multiple floors to go. Or when you ride nine floors down with the big guy who is wearing gold chains and has tattoos that doesn’t say a word when you get in.
If you do start a conversation, it’s always rudely interrupted by the elevator doors opening, but if you don’t start one…. the time feels like forever.
What if the ones you're stuck there with five times in just two days, don't speak much English but try to ask you questions?
Do you say goodbye when you leave the elevator? It feels like you should, but when it’s the only thing you’ve said… it feels even more weird than saying nothing.
What about getting on the elevator? The best part is when neither of you realize there’s someone on the other side of the door, and get fairly surprised. Best reaction to that situation? “Oh! Hello! And WELCOME to your floor!!” (this particular instance was made even more awkward by the fact that we were in swim suits, and that the above comment was followed by, “your clothes are in your room!”)
What do you do when the door is closing? Do you run and stick your hand in to make it open? Or just wait until the next elevator comes? It feels kind of dumb to sit there and wait, when there was just one there, but it feels even more dumb to go racing to the door, start waving your arm and then jump in to a group full of people (“Hi!”).
I guess the only thing I’ve figured out for certain is that elevators can be handy for times when you are carrying big loads of luggage, or when you are all by yourself and can jump and sing, but usually it’s better to take the stairs.