"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elevator Manifesto: Part 1

This manifesto is a response to a general lack of consideration and presence of common sense that I have witnessed while riding the elevators in the hospital where I work in the maintenance department.  Maybe these things are indicative of changes to society on a larger scale and just become more obvious in the microcosm of the elevator ride.  Maybe my place of work has been overrun by the inconsiderate and the oblivious, and the behaviors I see on a day to day basis aren’t the norm.  I doubt this is the case though.  While this is a manifesto about elevator rules, it is also a guide to living in polite society.  Having some consideration for others can go a long way to making the world run more smoothly.
Before addressing topics like, Space Invaders, Up Downs, Down Ups, Door Holders, Elevator Operators, and more I think I should address the most common source of my elevator frustration. 
Rule #1 Exiting passengers have the right of way.
Such a simple rule. 
So simple I will use an analogy to explain it.  Lets say you were filling a jar with red and blue marbles and you mistakenly fill it to the top with the red leaving no room for the blue.  You have to get the blue ones in there somehow.  What do you do?  Do you try to cram the blue marbles into the already full jar like a dummy, or do you take some of the red ones out to make room for the blue?  Most people would choose the latter rather than the former of the two options.  Why then do so many people rush onto the elevator as soon as the doors open?  Is it because they lack a basic understanding of common elevator rules of etiquette, or do they think the world revolves around them and we should all step aside and let them do whatever they want.
This simple rule and its violation is what finally lead me to writing this manifesto that I have been threatening to write for years.  It was a Thursday, a day not unlike any other day.  I was pushing a cart with some supplies and had to bring them to the the third floor.  I boarded the elevator with another person and we both got off at the third floor.  I motioned for him to disembark first because the room I was going to was next to the elevator bank and he would have had to walk around me had I exited first (consideration: it’s easy).  I followed directly behind him not wanting to leave a gap allowing someone to jump on before I could make my exit.  Seriously I was right on his heels, but that wasn’t enough to stop the woman who had been waiting for the elevator.  Without looking she tried to walk right on as in her peripheral vision she saw the first guy exit.  When she finally noticed I was coming off with the cart she had to do a jump back maneuver that almost made the guy behind her trip.  As the elevator door was closing I could hear her mumbling to the guy whom she almost tripped that it was rude of me to not have announced I was coming off the elevator.  I was rude?  Really?  I don’t believe I was, but if I was please tell me.  She said some other stuff too that was hard to make out.  My first thought was to abandon my cart and run up the stairs to explain to her the error of her ways but I knew better than to leave the cart unattended.  It was a teachable moment, and I had to let it pass, very unfortunate.
Rule #1 is simple, easy to follow, and is applicable 100% of the time.  If you have been waiting “forever” for the elevator to arrive at your floor, exiting passengers still have the right of way.  If you are only going up or down one floor, exiting passengers still have the right of way.  If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, if you are in a power chair, if you are rich, if you are poor, if you suspect you may have gotten that lady pregnant when you hooked up at your ten year high school reunion, remember Rule #1 and let the people off the elevator before you make things difficult for everyone.
Stay tuned for part 2 and until then be sure to put rule #1 into practice. 


  1. What if unbeknownst to the elevator passenger, the floor you have just arrived on is engulfed by odorless invisible toxic flames? The persons waiting for the elevator rush in and say "Don't get off on this floor!" Thus saving the lives of all the passengers but violating Rule #1 of the Manifesto.

  2. Elevator Etiquette and manners. Some people suffer a disease inside an elevator. It's called adult delinquent syndrome.