Sociopath’s Elevator Guide

If you do not happen to live in a 3D city like Manhattan, you probably don’t spend a good portion of your day getting hoisted up and lowered down again in elevators. We New Yorkers tolerate them in order to conserve the calories we need to hit the stair-master at the gym. But elevators aren’t as exciting as one might think. If these people-crates were made of glass they would be more fun, but for the most part we have to find ways to amuse ourselves during these awkward and boring rides. The good news is that there are a whole lot of shenanigans and hijinks one can play with elevators. Following is a helpful Sociopath’s Guide to Elevators.

Beat the Crowd
Here’s your first scenario. You arrive at the elevator bank to find 15 people waiting for the next elevator with a maximum occupancy rating of 12 persons. What I do in this situation is to nonchalantly meander to the middle of the crowd so that I can rush quickly ahead of the pack into the first door that opens. Admittedly I could probably get to my floor faster by waiting a moment for the next elevator which will likely be empty and make fewer stops, but the satisfaction of beating out those other losers into the first elevator is totally worth it!

Temple of Doom
Every time I see those elevator doors closing, I get a rush of adrenaline like Indiana Jones escaping from the Temple of Doom. It is super fun to lunge for the closing door and halt it in devil-may-care fashion at the last possible moment. The best part is that while the doors will grudgingly reopen, they are usually programmed to punish everyone with a long reset timer. If another Indiana Jones type comes along before they fully reclose, this fun can go on for hours!

The Ninja
While waiting impatiently for the doors to close before any more losers arrive, my best strategy is to play Ninja. The way I do this is to stealthily hide in the corner toward incoming traffic. If I can’t see anyone coming, I cannot be expected to hold the door open for them. But sometimes I cannot conceal myself in a position of plausible deniability. In these cases, I have to perform the Fake Button Reach move. As that pregnant mom is rushing for the elevator, I pretend I’m desperately trying (but failing) to reach the Open button. If you want to become a Ninja Master it pays to practice your “on no I’m too late!” expression in the mirror. Practice makes perfect!

Hold that Door!
When returning to the office with coworkers, they think I’m very chivalrous when I rush ahead and block the elevator door until they finally stroll up. This is great because the irritated people inside cannot complain for at least a minute or so without looking like jerks themselves. Also, if you’re married like me, your wife will reward you if you agree to run ahead and hold the door while she takes care of those 27 last minute urgent matters back in your apartment. Your ability to endure the hate-filled glares of everyone waiting in the elevator will prove to her how much you really do love her.

The Cigarette Run
I’m not a smoker myself, but one of the most satisfying activities for the veteran elevator sociopath is to run down and out for a quick cigarette fix five minutes before the start of that long, boring 2 o’clock meeting. If you puff frantically on that cigarette for 2 minutes you are guaranteed to reek. I mean gut-wrenching, rotting-corpse, dive-bar, up-chucking reek. Even though you can’t smell it on yourself, do not worry because I guarantee every non-smoker in the elevator will. It must be huge fun to watch them grimacing in disgust as they try to hold their breaths until the doors open and they can suck in that sweet air-conditioned oxygen! If you are a non-smoker like me, don’t worry because you accomplish almost the same effect by drenching yourself in a gallon of that “Trancher les Oignons” cologne you got from your secret Santa at last year’s office gala.

Ear Bud Antics
This elevator sociopath tip takes a bit of investment. Get a smart phone. Get crappy ear buds. Get your favorite music. Play said music at max volume on your crappy ear buds. Enter crowded elevator. Remember that while most people do love music, some inexplicably do not actually like your music, and certainly not when all they hear are the tinny frequencies that leak from your crappy ear buds. If it’s horrible music to them it’s doubly horrible coming from your crappy ear buds. Maybe if you play it loud enough through your crappy ear buds they’ll learn to appreciate it. If it’s music that your coworkers already love and treasure, it’ll be a particularly excruciating affront to hear it massacred by your crappy ear buds. No matter how you look at it, cranking music through your crappy ear buds is the best way for the elevator sociopath to make everyone cringe for the entire ride. The only way you can be even more annoying is to sing along at unnaturally high volumes like I do.

Fun with Positioning
For you more cerebral elevator sociopaths, it is great fun to experiment with positioning as the elevator fills and empties. I like to intentionally stand in non-optimal non-equidistant spacing positions and gather data on how much it freaks people out. Also, I like to stand right in front of the buttons so that people have to beg my pardon if they would like the elevator to stop at their floor. It effectively makes me the ruler of the elevator. I’m not especially tall, but if you are you can use that advantage by standing right in front of the video monitor. It’s fun to force everyone to crane their heads to read the latest stock indices or witty elevator wisdom. You can take great satisfaction that when they return to their office they will have no idea what is happening in the world and have no elevator witticisms to relate.

MonsterStrollerBundles of Joy
For more fun, wear a bulky backpack in the elevator. It’s a hoot to act like you are totally oblivious to the fact that your backpack is smooshing into the chest or face of the person behind you. If you don’t have a backpack with you, try dragging around one of those huge suitcases on a stick containing God-knows-what and wait until that 12 person elevator has at least 15 inside before deciding it can still fit you and your pet suitcase of God-knows-what. Finally, if you are a parent, be sure to invest in one of those impressive Hummer mega-strollers that take up the entire elevator. Make sure your child is at the peak of their screeching tantrum before entering the elevator to achieve maximum impact. It’s a joy that parents can only share for far too short a short time, so make the most of it while you can!

Sociopathic Politeness
Even if you don’t have crappy ear buds or a Hummer stroller, you can still be really annoying just by being polite. Try it! Guys, when the elevator opens, stand in the doorway ushering everyone in or out as if the elevator is a ship and you are its captain. Yes, it does make it far more difficult for everyone to squeeze past you and slows everything down, but tell yourself it is necessary so that the ladies will not speak ill of your discourteous behavior.

And ladies, even without being overly eager, doors do close on people. Doors are evil, it’s what they do. But despite the fact that there are virtually no injuries related to doors closing, you can still offer matronly admonishments to be careful every time someone gets caught in a door or uses their foot or hand to stop it from closing on them. The great thing is that while everyone finds this super-annoying, they can’t complain because you’re only being polite! You can practice this skill out on the street as well. Watch for someone to stumble or trip. When they do, loudly caution them to be careful and ask if they’re all right. Everyone “loves” that!

That’s all the tips for now. Watch for the upcoming Sociopath’s Guide to Subways!

2 thoughts on “Sociopath’s Elevator Guide

  1. Jon Darby

    A couple of my favorites:

    -Face the back of the elevator. Facing into a corner is a great way to creep people out, as is standing int he middle of the doorway, “analyzing” everyone else. Add a twist to this by facing the group and trying to start a sing-along.

    -Do an extremely exaggerated version of the ‘pee pee dance.’ Dance, pace, jump up and down, make guttural grunts, hold your crotch (or use your hands to clamp your butt cheeks together). You can end this by knocking everyone over as you rush out the doors as soon as they’re halfway open. Or if you really feel like going for the academy award, practice that horrified ‘uh oh’ look that is sure to make everyone else uncomfortable.



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