Ah, the elevator. Such a delightful way to interact with your fellow man, especially in a workplace environment. Such a great way to act strangely in other people’s personal space.
I work on the fifth floor of a six floor office building here in Indianapolis. I was going home at the end of a long day, and instead of looking at the light to confirm that the elevator was actually headed in a downward direction, I just got on as soon as the doors opened, assuming it was going down.
Naturally, I was wrong. I rode up to the sixth floor. When the doors opened, the president of the company was standing there, waiting to get on. Since sitings of the company president are as rare as Elvis’s, I was so surprised that I didn’t even have presence of mind to jump out as though I had actually intended to get off on this floor, maybe to visit the lunchroom, or something.
I just stood there like a doofus, and as the doors closed and we rode down, he said to me, “Are you just joy riding on the elevator, or what?” To which I replied, somewhat inaudibly, “Uh, unintentionally, yes,” sounding remarkable like Butthead, when he’s trying to figure something out. The president said nothing. He looked like he wondered who I was and if there was any way he could conveniently fire me.
Fortunately, he never found out who I am.
Singing in the Elevator
Again, I was riding down the elevator on the way home, only this time I stopped to look at the light, hoping to avoid looking like a wonk in the same way twice.
On this trip, though, I was alone in the elevator, and I was so tired I couldn’t even think. Instead of going to the back of the elevator like most people do, I parked myself right in front of the doors. Also, though I didn’t realize I was doing it, I started singing, which I frequently do when I’m alone. I was performing that Possum Kingdom song that seems to be about vampires. I got all the way to the verse, “And I promise you, I will treat you well, my sweet angel, so help me, Jesus…” and the doors of the elevator opened on the last few words. In front of me was an older woman from Human Resources, looking a little surprised.
Three things dawned on me all at once:
- I was singing,
- she heard me,
- she wanted to get in the elevator and I was standing in the way.
So I said, “Hi!” and backed up so she could get on. After a second, she said to me, “That was you singing, wasn’t it?” I replied with a yes. She said, “OK,” and just gave me a look like, “stay over on that side of the elevator, and we’ll both be happy,” as we rode the rest of the way in silence. I am so grateful that I was not up to the end of the song, where he sings, “Do you want to die?” over and over. I’m pretty sure that she would never have gotten on the elevator at all. At the very least.