I have never asked anyone to hold an elevator for me, nor do I think that anyone should ever make such a request.
I’m standing in the elevator, floor button depressed and alighted, doors sliding shut, ready to launch, when some savage who woke up ten seconds after me or spent ten extra seconds in the shower or wasted ten seconds listening to the end of a Lady Gaga song in their car wants me to stop the impending closure of these doors so that he or she can catch up to my day and probably press a floor button lower than my own, thus delaying me even further.
No, I say. It’s not right. I arrived at this elevator on time. I am ahead for a reason. I arose earlier or walked faster or planned my route to this location more strategically. Whatever the reason, I am in the lead and should not be forced to cede my position because of a simple request.
Except it’s rarely a request. Most often it’s a demand. “Hold that elevator!” Sometimes followed by a please and more often not, but either way, it’s no request. It’s an order issued by a stranger to strangers who often feel compelled by societal obligation and basic decency to comply.
It’s admittedly difficult to ignore these injurious demands. Stand idle and you risk the savage sliding his serpentine hand between the doors at the last moment and thus gaining access to your car. Then you’re forced to occupy the same awkward, uncomfortable space with your oppressor for what can feel like a very long time, the whole time feeling unjustifiably guilty about your attempt to preserve your precious time at his expense.
So I’m not asking elevator riders to ignore these inappropriate demands. People are too nice for that. I’m asking for a cessation of these demands completely.
If you’re asked to hold an elevator, do so if that is your prerogative, but make your collective feelings known once the savage has boarded the car. Sigh. Engage in orchestrated eye rolls. Employ the unified, disappointed shake of the head usually reserved for mothers who would rather laden their progeny with disappointment and guilt than simply ground them for a week.
Stop the insanity. There are other elevators. Wait for the next one, just like we waited for this one.
Or climb out of bed a little earlier. Spend a little less time in front of the mirror. Lay out your clothes the night before. Stop staring at the Internet and get moving.
Whatever it takes to arrive at this elevator before the doors begin to close.
Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and wait for the next one.
That, my friends, is proper elevator etiquette. Anything less is pure savagery.