Going Down?
Third Floor, Ladies Lingerie.

June 10, 1999

Hi. I'm back. I felt that to do justice to today's topic some research was in order. Today's topic. . . drumroll please. . .elevator etiquette.

Here's the deal. Angelinos have no concept of elevator etiquette. I suppose it comes from growing up in the land of sprawling ranch homes. This is the only city in the world I know of where a five story building is considered a skyscraper.

Having grown up in New York on the 24th floor of an apartment building, elevator etiquette is something that was drilled into me at an early age. This is a learned skill, I've discovered, although to me it seems like plain old common sense.

I work in a 55 story high rise in downtown Los Angeles. Yes folks, there is a downtown in LA. It consists of about two square miles of really tall buildings, but it's our downtown. (If you look at the skyline it looks like a huge zit on an otherwise flat landscape, but there it is there.)

Virtually every day I am annoyed when I use the elevator. I use the elevator a lot so there are lots of opportunities for aggravation.

For my fellow Angelinos reading, consider this my little public service. I will now offer some tips on how to use the elevator:

1. Before attempting to board the elevator you should step aside and allow other passengers to get off before pushing your way on. Common sense you say? Ha! I can't tell you how many times I've been nearly knocked down by people in such a rush to get to their floor that they can't wait two seconds for me to actually get off the elevator.

2. If you're the only person in the elevator it's fine to stand wherever you want. But if other people would like to ride with you, step to the rear of the car. Again, common sense? You'd think so. Not so much though. I am supposed to walk under, over, or through you to get to an available spot to stand?

3. If someone enters the car and their hands are full, it's common courtesy to offer to press their floor for them. Part of my research for today's entry took place at my doctor's office. I stepped into the elevator, pressed the floor I wanted and stepped aside (see #2 above). A gentleman also got on and his hands were full. I offered, "What floor would you like?" The man was stunned, and commented so. "Six please, and thank you. No one does that anymore."

4. Respect other people's personal space. This is possible to do, even if you're in a really crowded car.

5. Step out of the car if necessary to allow fellow passengers to get out of the elevator. It is never acceptable to step on another passenger or knock them in the head with your gym bag so that you don't have to move any more than absolutely necessary to allow a fellow passenger to get off the elevator.

6. Hold the door open. If you see someone tearing toward the elevator, hold it for them. This can be accomplished in one of two ways. The door open button. It's there. Use it. Or, push back on the little rubber door thingies. I don't suggest risking your life. Just a little common courtesy. This also applies when you see an elderly person or a mom with a stroller approaching your car.

7. If the elevator is crowded and the only spot left is the one in front of the key panel (again, see #2 above) offer to press the floor button for someone when they get on the elevator. The alternatives: making someone feel really uncomfortable reaching in front of you, or you feeling really uncomfortable because someone is reaching right in front of your face or chest. (OK, I suppose this one could be lumped in with #3 but it's a different scenario and I felt it needed to be addressed separately.)

8. Parents: Control your Children. It is not fun or funny when your unruly child presses all the buttons. I know this from personal experience. This is the one thing my sisters and I would get in big trouble for as children.

9. Even if you're the first one on the elevator and it's crowded, if you're getting off on the next floor position yourself strategically; i.e., don't stand in the absolute back of the elevator. In many respects this contradicts #2 but there are ways to do this. You can position yourself in the corner or by the elevator panel (in which case #3 and/or #7 apply).

10. Don't fart! (OK, this is Chuck's contribution, but it's valid). If he wants to address this issue he'll do it in his own journal.

No one said this was easy but with a little practice, fellow citizens, you will master it.

Until next time. . .