The Onion Bagel is a satirical column for The Statesman.
Elevators: they go up, they go down.
From Frey Hall to the Melville Library, those weight-bearing contraptions make up an irreplaceable part of campus life and culture. How would we get to a fifth-floor class otherwise? There is literally no other way.
But elevators are cramped, confined spaces, ripe for issues between the people stuffed inside of them. A typical day riding the proverbial steel eagle can quickly become an etiquette nightmare. A few episodes of bumping elbows and hitting the button of the floor directly above you makes it readily apparent that people don’t know how to behave within the confines of the uppity box.
We here at The Onion Bagel have put together a helpful little field guide to elevating your elevator etiquette. Here are some helpful tips:
Maximize your physical presence
People on elevators are like my family on Thanksgiving — constantly battling to dominate the area. Elevators are a fight for influence, and your best bet to win is to push your influence as far as it can go by taking up as much space as humanly possible.
Assume a wide stance and stretch your arms out. Use your bag as a cudgel against those who would invade your space. If you can, expel a bit of flatulence and let your influence be felt over more than one sense.
Elisha Otis’ magic box is full of noise, from buzzing bells to the soft hum of the machinery. But most elevator-goers refrain from speaking, so the sonic field is usually ripe for domination.
And dominate you shall. Project your voice at every opportunity. Make idle small talk with your fellow passengers in a booming baritone.
“HOW ABOUT THEM KNICKS?” you scream as they cower in horror. “SURE IS SOME CRAZY WEATHER WE’VE BEEN HAVING,” you say as your voice rattles the cables.
Friends are always there for each other in times of need, so don’t neglect the benefit your friends can provide here. If you’re ascending with a pal, make sure to hold a conversation during your time within the cable-bound monstrosity. Don’t make it idle chit-chat either; plan murders with the kind of specificity that’ll make people sure you aren’t kidding.
That’ll shut ‘em up.
Make threats, not apologies
Above all else, a civilized elevator rider never apologizes. Instead, use every social miscue or awkward situation as an opportunity to vaguely hint at familial mafia connections. Slur your words into a semblance of old-timey gangsters from 1950s film noir.
If you’re in the back of the elevator and you reach your floor, don’t say “excuse me” over and over again. Try something like “oh boy, if these mooks don’t make a gap they’ll be sleepin’ with the fishes before too long, see?”
Elevator too cramped when you come in? Hit the box with a morbid “boy I bet my cousins in the Colombo Crime Family, an organization that rose to prominence along with the rest of the Five Families after Lucky Luciano brought an end to the brutal Castellammarese war in New York City from 1930 to 1931, would not approve of such disrespectful behavior toward their family member.”
Bring up knuckle sandwiches frequently and you will never fail in your quest to rise to the top of the scrum for elevator superiority. But above all else, remember to have fun.