My English Journal 004: Elevator
Meeting an acquaintance in an elevator is something I always try to avoid, for it's awkward.
The elevators in my office building run faster than most in other commercial buildings, which has made the encounter a little easier, in the sense of the length of time you have to spend with someone you know in the poky space.
What would you say to him/her in the cabin? Morning, busy these days? Many business trips recently? It's cold... I can't think of anything else as appropriate topics. I've seen people ardently discussing business matters while struggling guarding their space in the stuffed elevator cabin but that's just not right and people around them would just feel insulted in a way while forced to overhear the jargon they exchanged. Who has the right to bother others with details of their own business which should only be proper to be kept to themselves? I shall never do that, if not for elevator etiquette, if you please, at least for the security of information.
After a brief exchange of hello's, I and my acquaintance quickly fall into a silent pit, or to be exact, two pits next to each other but segregated by our respective psychological barriers -- neither side has anything more to utter. We both resort to the elevator ads screen installed on the cabin wall, attentively watching the commercials that we ignore every day. The elevator suddenly seems inching up the height as if painfully. We turn our eyes to the level indicator, wondering why the digits are so inert today.
The elevator reaches my floor, or his/her floor first, finally. With a cheerful "Bye", a relief regained within us, like a lightening reassuring peace of mind and normality of everything in us.
I just hate to run into anyone I know in any elevator.