For the last three years, my place of occupancy at this University has existed on the fifth floor or above of my respective residence hall. Being an exceedingly time-sensitive creature (those who know me may scoff politely now), I rely upon the elevators so as not to dillydally going up and down stairs.

The elevator has ascended to kind of icon status in our culture. The elevator – and by association, the elevator shaft – has been highly glamorized by Hollywood. Think of the classic “Blues Brothers” and that highly awkward “Spider-Man 2” scene. Think of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Live Free or Die Hard.” The elevator, America’s favorite pulley-based tool, has been a great boon to our society.

But just as roses have thorns, colleges have classes and beautiful ladies have feelings, so too do elevators have drawbacks. The elevator is work-free but often slow to arrive. Your average elevator is fairly unglamorous, unless it’s of the big city variety. But worst of all things is that elevators contain one very unfortunate thing – other people.

The elevator conundrum, as I call it, is that it instantly kills conversation no matter who the occupants are. Even my friends and I can falter in the face of that claustrophobic, tedious 10-second ride. But we all know that sinking feeling when we get into the elevator by ourselves just to realize someone else is there.

It seems like a general faux pas to strike up a conversation with the other occupant. If it happens to be a dude, they really probably want to be left alone. If the occupant is a girl, then you have just become Creepy-Elevator-Guy (of course, if you’re a girl going into an elevator with a guy and you strike up a conversation, you might just be making his day).

But alas, in general, most elevator rides go poorly. I suppose it’s because of the general trapped feeling – it’s like being trapped with your distant cousins at the kid’s table at that family reunion.

“How are you?”

“Eh?”

Awesome. Another inspired conversation for the record books.

I’m convinced elevator etiquette won’t change anytime soon. Society needs to act now to fix the elevator conundrum. I call for an International Elevator Advisory Panel, comprised of the United Nations Security Council, Al Gore (to make sure elevators are environmentally friendly) and Tim Gunn (to make elevators fashionable). They will be responsible for ensuring elevators worldwide meet basic safety requirements while expelling awkwardness.

Though this panel will be comprised of a fantastic group, I have several recommendations of my own. First, there shall be no more Muzak. Instead, elevators will blare classical music, as performed by a death metal band (you haven’t heard Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” until you’ve heard it as an amazing guitar riff, accompanied by screaming). Second, elevators will have walls that change colors in response to the music (think “Mr. Holland’s Opus”). Third, all elevators will be equipped with a speaker that will say “Have a kickass day” when you leave. The speaker? James Earl Jones.

Or, perhaps more practically, we could just have glass elevators that overlook the outside. Silence might not be so golden, but a great view is.



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