The year was 1951.
The scene is set in a high-rise building in New York. The gentleman in the grey suit presses the button of the elevator and waits patiently. The lift comes down to the ground floor and halts with the grace of a bird who has landed on the branch of a tree.
The man in the suit steps forward and asks the liftman; “Hey George, how’s life?”
The liftman replies; “Well you know, it has its ups and downs”.
They both share a laugh and the elevator door closes.
This scene is not possible now because most lifts do not have a lift operator anymore. But do not let your spirits droop just yet. An elevator is also a classroom to study human behavior if you observe closely. We travel daily to work and use an elevator more often than not. (I can already hear the health/fitness freaks screaming about the benefits of climbing the stairs). In this short ride of a minute or less that we take daily, we come across a plethora of people. Some annoying, some laughing, some who will engage you with a conversation. The experience is mostly pleasant. So here is a list of possible personalities you will meet in an elevator.
Try and guess which one you are, or have I missed your type altogether.
1. The ones who would not climb a floor
This is the most annoying character you will encounter in a lift. They wait for the lift with you like they have to go to the top floor. After a couple of minutes of waiting (which for some reason always seems like ages), the lift comes. Here people get in and press buttons of different floors.
Our friend here will slowly press the 1 button and get off at the first floor.
Common man, climb a floor. That is like two flights of stairs. The wait for the lift alone burnt that much calories in standing.
2. The ones who are astonished
Imagine a lift filled with people that is coming down from the top of the building. This guy has been waiting on a floor midway and as soon as the lift opens, they just fall inside the door. As if he never saw all the folks in the lift. He looks surprised that the lift is filled with people. What were you expecting Joe? A cake and some candles?
A few apologies later, he steps out again and presses the button again. The same lift reopens, people in the lift curse silently.
The man walks away again as if nothing has happened.
3. Best buddies
Mostly a couple of men/women who get into the lift and start chatting almost immediately. Look around you two, there are a lot of people. Zip it for a minute and enjoy the silence. But no, they chat loudly about anything under the sun and most times out of human nature, you end up listening to them.
Suddenly the lift door opens and they move away.
And you are all, “Hey wait, what’s the end of that story?” OR “Hey how does that recipe end?”
4. The one with the headphones
It is common to have a smartphone and flashy headphones these days. So, our friends here walk into the lift, all decked up with their headphones on and the volume on at full blast. This is usually heard outside, because not everyone can have noise cancellation headphones.
So, what if you are listening to Honey Singh or Badshah or even Justin Bieber in there. They want everyone to feel the music and some of these heroes even shake their heads in tune or as they say, rock the beat.
5. The mirror obsessed
Most lifts come with a mirror these days, either on the back side of the lift or on the doors. That’s right, the doors are so shiny you can practically mistake it for a mirror. Enter our fashion-conscious friends who start adjusting their make-up or check out the spikes or hair on their heads.
Is the hair gel a bit too much?
Why is the eye liner seems to be spreading out?
Am I looking fat in this t-shirt?
Is the gym workout paying off?
6. The silent conversationalist
This is by far my most favorite category of people in the elevator. They come on board, observe the people inside and then spot someone they know.
But instead of making loud conversation or inappropriate hand gestures, they flash forward their best smile. Or a simple sinusoidal wave of the head to indicate that all is fine with the world.
They probably believe in the idiom, “Silence is golden”.
7. The lift tinderites
This is the latest category to come into picture. Mostly a hoard of guys who will scan the elevator to see the pretty girl and try to make eye contact.
If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, well atleast they know what floor she got off on.
Mental note made to get off at that floor next time and then take the stairs.
So the next time you are in an elevator, look around and see whom you spot. What category they fall into. Maybe you can come up with one that I missed.