Tag Archives: elevators

Your Lipstick Is Hurting My Brain.

18 Mar

I have blogged before about how awkward I find elevators.  I don’t like unspoken elevator etiquette, I don’t like confined spaces, and I don’t like people.

Every day outside my apartment is a challenge.

Yesterday I was on the elevator at work, sandwiched between two older women.  The one on my left was wearing an incredibly colorful scarf, and the one on my right was admiring it.  It was a nice, elevator-appropriate exchange.  Something or other about it looking lovely, and then something or other about it being from Italy.

Why is it that every time someone’s clothes are complimented they say it’s from somewhere ridiculous?

So woman #1 exits the  elevator feeling all lovely about herself and her choice to express herself through her wardrobe and I’m left with woman #2.   I’m not really a morning person and I usually spend my time on the elevator psyching myself up to face the corporate jungle for 8 hours without running out the door screaming bloody murder.  So I’m not really one for elevator chat.

Unfortunately for me, woman #2 was.  And she was still fixated on the Italian scarf.

“I just love that scarf.  It was so colorful!  I can’t wear anything like that.  I sometimes buy things that are colorful but I can’t actually wear them.  I don’t know why.  I just never do.  I can’t ever wear them Blah Blah  Blah HAHAHAHA”

I could only stare at the floor numbers for so long before the silence became a murder weapon, so I attempted to muster up something in reply.  But just when I was about to speak, I turned to her and saw that half a stick’s worth of berry lipstick had gathered on her front teeth.  I instantly suffered from a severe brain shutdown and could only manage something like

Well….I…like your blazer.  It’s…. a color.”

I followed it up with a good, long,  inappropriately intense stare.

She was clearly uncomfortable, but I’d lost all communication with my central nervous system and nothing could be done to save me.  She even graciously allowed time for me to recover with a witty remark or with an explanation of my awkward statement.

But I just stared.

And stared.

Unable to take the wrath of the berry lipstick, I averted my eyes and looked down toward her pleated pants, which offered no solace.

By the grace of God the elevator finally stopped on her floor and realizing she could escape the situation, she bolted. I was left there in my shame and misery, unprepared for my day and fully-fixated on the image of a chunk of berry lipstick.

How does one person get that much lipstick in their mouth instead of on their lips?  How does someone who claims to buy colorful accessories but not to have the courage to wear them able to wear such a bold makeup color?  Why was she wearing pleated pants?

I had a lot of questions, but alas Woman #2 was gone and the elevator reached my floor.  I was instantly greeted by a slew of morning people, all rammed up to tackle their exciting day at the office.  Unfortunately, I had not been able to use my elevator time well and was not prepared for my day.

I can’t even count how many times I was asked if I was okay yesterday.

I hate being asked if I’m okay when I’m at work.  I don’t really even know what it means.  Am I okay?  No.  I’m not okay.  I’m stuck inside working for money so that I can go back outside and use the money to do things I actually want to do.  And I know that you feel the same way.  And I think it’s incredibly strange how we all just pretend that sitting in cubicles and sending emails to each other all day is normal human behavior.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to look like in that scenario, but apparently I don’t fake it properly unless I’ve had the elevator time to work on my office face.

Lesson learned: next time, opt for the wrath of the elevator silence.  


Elevator Tetris

6 Jan

Had I not gotten a degree in theater, I’d have aggressively pursued sociology.  …Well, the fun parts of it anyway. 

I’m a people-watcher.   I love to study them, the way they move, their quirky, inexplicable habits.  Trying to capture these details with my own body is my way of immersing myself in the study of people and of society and is one of my favorite parts of being an actor.  And it is for these reasons that I just adore watching office folk.

I have an office job by day because I need something to help feed my theater habit at night.  It’s a cruel, addictive cycle.  In my time amongst cubicles, elevators, and important titles, I am continually amused by the society that has been created there.  I am an outsider – a Jane Goodall, throwing herself into a world to live amongst these creatures and to study their interactions.

One of my favorite parts of the office is Elevator Space Relations.  This is true in any elevator scenario with more than one person, but I find it particularly interesting at the office. 

I was heading down from the top floor today and joined the 5pm elevator party just after a particularly high-level executive. 

Before we got on, however, he did me the good service of pretending to be interested in how I was today and I did the same for him.  I told him I was good and he told me he was good.  This is another fun one for me…because let’s face it: when anyone asks that question who isn’t your best friend or family member, they don’t really want an honest answer.  I totally felt like junk today.  I came in to the office to see how long I could make it because I’m a moron.  When he asked how I was, an honest answer would have been something like, “Oh, I’ve been better.   My head was a giant, disgusting hot air balloon filled with evil pixies smacking their wands on my frontal lobe and making it through this day was no small feat but I was too afraid to call off and look like a flake.”

Something told me that would have made the last 10 floors even more awkward. 

And so we stood in silence…the entire time from the top of the building to the bottom.   There’s only so long one can stare at the blinking number at the top of an elevator before they feel like an idiot.

It’s like we all got together one day and decided that there wasn’t enough time between point A and point B on an elevator and that since no one knows how many people may join on the way up or down, there is little possibility for discussion outside of the weather and the number of days ’til Friday.  So we just stopped talking altogether. 

My next favorite thing is how beautifully people will align themselves in an elevator.  It’s like one big spatial relations puzzle.  Every time someone new enters the picture, people in the elevator, without talking or making eye contact, will naturally work together to adjust themselves so that they leave as much room for a personal bubble as possible for everyone involved.

 It’s like the bathroom stall game, where if there are three and the nearest one has someone in it, you go to the far one.  Who made up these rules? 

I’ll admit, I like to rebel.  Sometimes when someone asks me how I am, I actually tell them.  And sometimes, I actually follow-up when they lie and tell me they’re good just to see if I can shake a human answer out of them.    Furthermore, I sometimes make people uncomfortable by choosing the stall directly beside them

I get myself through my day job with these little games.  I’ll admit that just a few days ago there were 3 people joining me on an elevator ride and I didn’t move from my space.  Yes, I felt the air thick with anticipation.  I felt their discomfort with the fact that there was not even spacing between the 3rd and 4th temporary members of the steel ride society but I was comfortable and deemed that everyone had an adequate amount of room.  And then an amazing thing happened: everyone else adjusted to me. 

I felt powerful.  I felt like an elevator goddess, directing human traffic with my mind.  I was the awkward T shaped tetris piece and everyone had to start a new row to adjust for my addition to the stack.  It was glorious.

I think I’ll start to use these powers for my rise in human society.  I will be the immovable force around which others must accordingly adjust themselves.   And slowly but surely, I will make my way to the top of the corporate world.  One awkward elevator ride at a time.♣


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