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Seinfeld Moment – The Elevator

Posted by JoAnn on June 19, 2009

Booking_Jerry_SeinfeldSo I’m waiting for the elevator the other day when I noticed a man get out of his car and start his approach to the elevator from the other side of the parking garage. He clearly sees me standing there waiting on the elevator. Yet he maintains a leisurely pace, a lighthearted stroll, if you will. The elevator arrives with its normal ‘ding’ to alert those waiting that it has arrived. I know he can hear it.  But at this point, the guy is sandwiched between the point of being too far to merit an elevator hold and too close really to just blow him off and let the doors close. This zone of approach creates quite the predicament.

I could hop on the elevator, hit the ‘door close’ button to expedite my departure and be on my way. Or, I could sigh heavily, hit the ‘door open’ button and wait for Mr. Takes His Time. However, if I expedite the departure of the elevator car and get the hell out of dodge, I run the risk of an awkward moment on the off-chance Mr. Takes His Time arrives just as the doors close. Plus, does he then cuss me under his breath or go home and tell his friends (presuming he has any) that some wench wouldn’t hold the elevator for him? And if he does, do I care?

But, if I wait and hold the elevator, I run the risk of setting off the annoying buzzer that goes off when the elevator door is being held open too long. If that happens and there’s someone on another floor waiting for the elevator, then those people will probably give me dirty looks because I’ll be the girl who was holding  up the elevator. And what if this guy is maintaining a leisurely stroll because he doesn’t want to be rushed. Maybe he hopes to avoid the weak “Hi” followed by the “Have a good evening” remarks that are customary when sharing an elevator car. If I hold the elevator, does he sigh under his breath and think, “I wish she would just go on. There’s three elevators here.”

Obviously there are a variety of factors to put in play here. Distance. Pace. Does he make eye contact? (He did not, by the way.) Is he carrying any packages? (He was not.)

Problem is, I live in the same building as this guy. We park on the same level. If it were someone I’d probably never see again, no problem. You can take your leisurely stroll on to the next elevator car. But this guy, I’ll probably see again. So when you’re in that zone of approach, what is the appropriate etiquette?

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