There are few things in life that are guaranteed: death, taxes, and awkward elevator rides. We’ve all been there, pressing that oh-so-shiny, round, absolutely irresistible button that will summon a hulking mass of metal to which you shall entrust your life to bring you up several hundred feet. The worst part of this death-trap-in-waiting? The most dreadful part of standing inside an iron cage hurtling skyward? Other people. 

That’s right. Other people, having the audacity to exist in the same space as you, also use elevators. What a ridiculous concept. After you’ve pressed that delectable, enticing, sultry button so many times it’s filing for a restraining order against the traumatic sensation of your fingertip, you hear a ding. The sound of a man heading to his death echoes above you, and the doors of hell open before you. 

A mass of people! A packed house! The turn out on this elevator ride is the likes of which have only been seen by the reported numbers of Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally. 

There is one person in the elevator. 

You think to yourself, “is it worth it?” “What if I suffocate?” “I haven’t even updated my will to properly allocate my belongings to my Kirby plush collection!” 

The sound of someone clearing their throat comes from this human that stands before you. You are mortifyingly reminded that you are being actively perceived by those before you, and step forward to join the throng of humans. 

The doors close, cutting off your only chance of escape. Your fate is sealed, along with the rubber strips that run along the edges of this metal prison, surely to soundproof the elevator so no one will hear your shrieks of agony at having to be close enough to another person to smell the regret of this morning’s stale bagel and cinnamon cream cheese. “What have I done to myself,” you wonder. 

I come to you now, your savior, your deliverer, your DoorDasher of advice, if you will. Fear not, for I am with you. I, and the 47 particles of dust you count floating in the air between you and your unfortunate elevator partner. 

The elevator departs, and there is no more ground beneath your feet than there is verisimilitude behind the statement, “There are enough dinosaur-shaped things in the world.” 

Your eyes have surely wandered, and it’s fate! Your eyes meet those of the person standing beside you! You have to speak now! You must, lest your reputation as a non-creepy-elevator person be ruined beyond repair! It is crucial in this moment that you stay far, far away from any phrase that would be acceptable in a normal conversation. You may not ask their name, about the weather, or the state of international affairs. 

Instead, you have three choices before you.

  1. Smile. You do not blink. You do not breathe. You smile with your mouth closed, wait two-to-four seconds, and then reveal a toothy grin. You have now successfully established dominance, and the remainder of the elevator ride is in your control. 
  2. Apologize. “But I’ve done nothing wrong!” You may think. First of all, the Tamagochi pets you abandoned in that bin of childhood possessions to be donated would beg to differ. Second of all, I don’t tell you how to be an awkward doofus, so don’t tell me how to do my job. If you apologize, the other person will doubtless inquire what you are apologizing for. Your reply should be something along the lines of, “oh, nevermind.” Their bamboozlement will keep them occupied for the rest of the ride. You cast Confusion! It was very effective. 
  3. Sit down. On the floor. Of the elevator. Sit. You are now out of the line of fire for conversation. If the other person in the elevator also sits down, however, it’s time to fold. They are a god with no fears, and should be feared themself. Enjoy your time near an eldritch being. 

These are the only known methods for surviving an elevator ride. I have bestowed my most precious knowledge upon you. Use it wisely. Or don’t. We didn’t sign any sort of agreement. 


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