Tuesday 5 July 2011

An Elevated Sense of Discomfort

The elevators in the building at work (this week, anyway) make me uncomfortable.

It’s not every elevator that makes me uncomfortable; I don’t get claustrophobic (probably from years of being stuffed into small spaces for fun and other people’s enjoyment), and I’m not afraid of heights or falling (probably from years of being launched into the air by (mostly) well-meaning cheerleaders). It’s just the ones in this building. The first time I stepped into one, I was impressed; you see, most of the surfaces in the elevators are reflective: front, sides and back. So, when I was in there alone, I was able to ensure that all was well for my job interview, all hairs in place (it happened once; you missed it), lipstick not smudged, no wardrobe malfunctions in sight…

Unfortunately, the neat-o reflective surfaces add to the discomfort of elevating (and delevating) when there are others in there with me.

I guess after a few years without being exposed to elevators (or escalators – hey-o, Dave!), I might not have a firm grasp on elevator etiquette, but here’s how I thought it worked: you file in, shuffle about awkwardly till you are all facing front, and stare uncomfortably at the number display until you got off on your floor. But maybe things have changed. The mirrored walls reflect people leaning against the sides, facing in, facing the back while talking to their friends, or staring directly at me. For my part, I can’t stare at myself for 9 floors with other people around. It feels self-absorbed (quiet, you!) and vain. And staring intently at the numbers as they flash up and down, when I am clearly the only person doing so feels even more stiff and unnatural.

What’s a girl to do? No, I’m not taking the stairs; that’s silly. I’m changing jobs. Ha!

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