Elevator etiquette 101: Don’t stand so close to me

My arm is numb by the time the elevator reaches the fifth floor. I have ten more floors to go. The weight of my luggage is exhausting every muscle from the top of my shoulder to the tip of my stubby little pinky finger.

One more ding and the dripping wet child to my right will disappear.

Good riddance.

She’s been sniveling for three floors straight, soaking my shoes in bathing suit water. Where’s this kid’s mother?

When it comes to elevators, how close is too close? An arm’s-length distance seems appropriate. But too many passengers make that distance unattainable. What happens when the elevator is full and people continue to board? Is it ever wrong to let someone know they’re in your personal space?

Properly standing at least six inches away to my left is likely a businessman – suit and tie, pants pressed ever so perfectly down the front, hair as dapper as can be. He obviously understands the unwritten policies of elevator etiquette.

And I appreciate it.

To be clear, every hotel guest should be handed an elevator etiquette booklet during check-in. Why? Because it seems we’ve forgotten proper protocol. Just because the elevator door opens in front of you doesn’t mean you have to squeeze into it.

Too many things happen on elevators that make the general public uncomfortable, yet no one says a word. And it’s especially bad at the holiday season when people have been to the malls. Pushing onto the lift into a space too small to accommodate you and your shopping bags and expecting others to squeeze around you is selfish.

Don’t you think it’s time for us to agree on what makes good elevator etiquette? Are we not a linguistic society? Are we afraid to speak the truth on matters that cross the minds of those around us?

Personally, I really have elevator issues during the giving holidays.

Everyone is traveling heavier wearing bulky jackets, boots, scarves and hats. Their bags are filled with presents for family and friends. Some have boxes, bags, roller bags, duffels or backpacks on wheels.

Allow me to rant here for a moment. Please, no more backpacks on wheels. The thought of one of those bratty things riding up the back of my heel brings me a step closer to the edge. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Are we really expected to travel to a city far from home, living on only the cheap bag of peanuts passed out by a flight attendant and then be forced to stick our backs up against a dirty elevator wall? We then stand there looking only towards the ceiling, avoiding eye contact and possibly looking for immediate prayers to be answered.

Add everyone’s holiday cheer to the mix and you’ve got a real party starter on your hands. Pass the champagne!

Having to share an elevator with strangers who intermittently nod in each other’s direction, pretending to say hello while sending threatening gestures at the same time, creates awkward silences. These silences in reality are a matter of seconds, minutes, though in theory they last for days.

We all know these things and we all understand them, yet we go on as if it’s the only way of life.

Elevator etiquette could and should be real.

Stand with me and promote elevator etiquette – but stand over there, an arm’s length away … at all times.

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