Artwork: “Elevator Etiquette” by Brian Pencil ©
“There’s no polite way of telling someone they’re rude.” – The Grand Old Duke of Boötis
No matter where one looks in the cosmos, things almost always appear to behave differently when observed in teeny tiny spots, to when in really, really big spaces.
The same can be said of Earth apes. I have often observed how the laws, customs and social civilities change in a microcosm, such as a lift*, and how this makes Earthlings feel very, very uncomfortable.
(*These are often referred to as ‘elevators’ in many of Earth’s dreadful movies.)
For anyone considering a visit to Earth, here is a list of things to be aware of if you should find yourself in such an enclosed environment with an ape.
1, Face the doors.
When entering the lift, it is customary to turn and face the doors. If one stands facing the others, smiling and politely nodding, Earthlings become quickly agitated. Their custom does not allow for them to turn to a different direction – which further adds to their discomfort. Some will actually leave on a floor much earlier than intended to escape your beaming face. By the 12th flight, you will be very unpopular.
2, Do not talk.
You may find yourself thinking, I wonder if this ape is getting off at the same floor as me… or wouldn’t it be funny if the lift broke and we had to spend the entire night together… or is it safer to jump or to lie down if the cable should unexpectedly snap? I would strongly recommend that you do not seek the ape’s opinion.
However, it is interesting to note that this law appears to change completely when the number of occupants exceeds two. In this case, it is absolutely acceptable to engage in loud conversation with someone by channelling your chatter through the ears of any obstructing head.
3, Spatial awareness.
There is none. If an ape’s pony tail should whip you several times in the face, the onus is on the face to avoid contact, rather than on the pony tail.
Furthermore, one would assume that it is a common courtesy to regulate one’s breathing when in an enclosed space. However, experience tells a different story. To escape a cheese and onion belch, it is simply good manners to not inhale for the entire journey and hide one’s inner discomfort.
Note; Earthlings do not acknowledge the existence of bodily functions in a lift.
4, Do not make eye contact.
Many lifts on Earth are specially fitted with mirrors so that apes can observe one another when travelling in such close proximity. However, it is recommended that one strictly adheres to the custom of pretending not to use them for this purpose, as to avoid any social indignity.
If uncertain, remain fixed on the back of the lift doors for the duration of the journey.
5, Pressing the buttons.
Do not. This unspoken task is given to the one nearest to the buttons. If you should find yourself in this unfortunate position, it is recommended that telepathy is used to determine an ape’s desired floor or you shall be met with a most abominable frown. Additionally, pressing all of the buttons, no matter how good one’s intentions are, is not advised.
6, Do not exceed other’s maximum capacity.
Apes have great affection for their belongings and believe that these inanimate objects should receive the same rights and privileges as everything else in the universe. Therefore, be prepared to share your feet with trolley wheels, your shoulders with mobile phones, the back of your head with a briefcase, your elbow with a hot polystyrene cup and your buttocks with the pointy bit of an umbrella.
Any intolerance of these objects that you display, is considered highly offensive.
7, Exiting the lift.
One would assume that when a lift door opens, one would wait for the occupants to leave the small box before attempting to gain entrance – this is not the case.
Also, it is apparent that apes are very afraid to momentarily leave the box to allow one trapped in the back to leave. Under no circumstances will they pass the threshold, as they are extremely distrustful of the doors intentions.
Altogether, this makes it very difficult to exit.
After travelling for several hours in the lift, I finally managed to make my escape… by singing, facing in the wrong direction, wafting my pony tail in others faces, belching, staring at others in the mirror and pressing all of the buttons. Immediately, the apes became very accommodating and helped me out of the lift at once.
Until next time, keep evolving!