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21 March 2012

Awkward elevator rides rival the Tower of Terror

Elevator music has always gotten a bad rep.Your iPod will be on shuffle in the car and as if Steve Jobs himself is haunting you from his grave, it will play some symphony that you swear was for an eighth grade music class project. Your friends shriek. “Why don’t you put on dentist chair music while you’re at it? Where did you hear this song? Shopping at JC Penny?”
I’m not advocating that anyone play an oboe quartet at your pre-game, but come on everyone, give elevator music a break. It is an under-appreciated necessity and anyone who has ridden the painful silence of UM elevators should know that.
Living in the penthouse of the Hecht Pentland dorm, I am an avid elevator rider. This means I get to take the elevator for 12 floors, which would be bearable if I got to be with myself and my own thoughts, but considering I live with 500 other students, that is rarely the case.
Not only am I usually in the elevator with someone who chooses to prolong my ride by making it all about them and stopping at other floors, but usually it is pretty awkward.
The worst is when there is only one other individual in the elevator. Both of you realize that the other is there but will do whatever it takes to spend this dreaded journey together without acknowledging each other.
Suddenly, you become painfully aware of your every movement. Do they notice that I have spent this ride mesmerized by the changing floor numbers? Should I rifle through my bag to pass the time? I’ll pretend to text and pray that they don’t discover the truth and realize that there is no service.
Then there are the times that the other passenger is someone that you are somewhat acquainted with and now you can’t escape conversation.
You’ll have to resort to small talk that will only end up buying you about three floors of time. You’ll soon reach a lull in conversation that will make you long for elevator music.
Experiences like those make me consider swearing off elevators and making the trek up all 12 flights of stairs, which says a lot considering I am a huge advocate of moving as little as possible in life. All it would take is a simple melody to stop these rides from rivaling the Tower of Terror.

Jackie Salo is a freshman studying journalism.