Tag Archives: Etiquette

Elevator Chit-Chat

For those of us that get into an elevator frequently, there are decisions to be made daily that are perhaps a lot trickier than they look. What do you want your elevator game to be like? Do you want to be that sociable chatty person that acknowledges everyone, and perhaps engages in small talk? Would you rather stare at the door, (or if you’re lucky, some magical piece of information posted on a sheet inside that you can pretend to be really interested in) and be anti-social. Is one better than the other? What does your elevator game say about you as a person? I understand both sides.

My father was a supremely talented small-talker. He never missed an opportunity to engage in conversation with a complete stranger. He thrived on it, and I’m not playing favourites when I say I never saw anyone as good at it. The best part was that he gave no shits whether the person wanted to talk to him or not. It never entered his mind that someone wouldn’t want to talk to him, and he was absolutely charming enough to pull it off even with the toughest of crowds. You’d think the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree. In a way it doesn’t. I totally CAN talk to strangers too, but when I get into an elevator I want nothing more than for it to be empty. If it’s not empty, I really enjoy walking into an elevator with people who are on their phones or not attempting to engage me in any way. If I can’t have either or those, I’ll take a head nod on the way in, awkward silence until we arrive at the floor, and a polite ‘have a good night’ on the way out. My last choice would be to have someone start chatting me up about something. Unless it’s them telling a quick (really entertaining) story, and me having to come up with a smile and a one-liner at the end, which I can tolerate.

I live on the 6th floor of a Condo building. I used to live on the 5th floor of a Condo building. Coincidence? No. When we picked the floors, I was thinking of two things. One, I’m afraid of heights, and if the shit really hit the fan, I’d like to know that I could tie some bed sheets together and shimmy down some balconies to safety. Two, I hate long elevator rides. Is it the length of the rides themselves that I hate? Or do I hate talking to people in the elevators? A little bit of both.

As a reader, you might be thinking, ‘hey, this guy has a blog, he has lots to say…. why doesn’t he want to talk?’. I do want to talk. Just not to strangers on an elevator. It’s OK though, I tolerate it. There’s one thing I can’t tolerate though (and if you were wondering what prompted me to write this blog, here we go), and that’s someone who starts a conversation in an elevator that they themselves are not interested in. What? Does that actually happen, and more importantly why would it happen? Yes it happens. I don’t know why. It mystifies me, but it does happen periodically, and I can only think that perhaps some people just feel like they SHOULD engage in chit-chat every time they’re in the elevator. Maybe they think it’s impolite not to, or it makes them better people. All of which is fine, but I had a guy the other day start chatting with me, and then when it was my turn to talk, COMPLETELY lost interest in the conversation. Buddy, first of all, I had NO interest in talking to you to begin with, and now here I am, scrambling to say something interesting about the weather, and you’re fading on me???? I live on the 6th floor!!!!!!! It wasn’t a long ride. Focus or fuck off!

To summarize, I think the world has all kinds of people in it. Different people have different elevator etiquette, and that’s OK. I don’t judge anyone, but all I ask is commit to it. You wanna avoid the social awkwardness of neighborly small talk? Me too. You wanna be a Chatty McChattster? Be true to yourself, and annoy all the introverts. BUT…….if you’re gonna try to chat, you better be ready to talk and listen. If I have to take my brain off auto-pilot to have a conversation with you, then finish what you started!

Coffee without cream is like……….

I am out of sorts…..  I shouldn’t be.  It’s the last day of my vacation.  I’m home now, and it’s a Monday so the rest of the world is at work, but I won’t be until Tuesday.  Perfect day to waste farting around.  We went grocery shopping yesterday because we’d been out-of-town and the fridge was empty.  I’m stocked up.  I don’t need to go anywhere until 8pm.  So I put on some coffee this morning, and guess what???  No cream in the fridge.

Let me put something out there.  I’m a coffee snob and I’m not.  I’m not a coffee snob in the sense that I don’t have a French Press, and I don’t drink my coffee straight (I require lots of cream and sugar), and I’m not above drinking flavored coffees (just the opposite, I LOOOOOVVVEEE flavored coffees…… BTW for all my Canadian friends, it’s just easier for me to spell flavour the American way.  You’ll also note later that I’ll do the same thing with favour).  I’m a coffee snob in the sense that if you come into my home and I offer you a coffee, I have the necessary accessories to fulfill this request, and the necessary coffee brewing skills to do it right, so that you WILL enjoy your coffee here.  Part of that is having cream in the fridge at all times.  It’s amazing to me how many homes you can go into where they offer you coffee and don’t have half the shit you need to make a good cup of coffee.  Quite honestly, I’d rather not go down that road with you.  If good coffee isn’t important to you, then don’t offer it.  Chances are I’m not visiting with you first thing in the morning and a caffeine jolt is not the issue. Make a drink that you’re good at making, or offer (COLD) water, which everyone who has a fridge or ice cubes is good at making.  If you want to be the type of person that offers coffee to people who come over, then make that $5 investment per 2 months (which is how long it usually stays good in the fridge), and have some fucking cream!  BTW, if I can help you with the math, $5 over 2 months is about $30 a year, which is a small price to pay to have a good reputation among coffee drinkers.

I’m not suggesting that it’s a true necessity of being a good host to have great coffee at your place, just as I would never expect you to have good beer at your place, or good wine, or good anything.  I just think people need to know their limits as hosts, and stay within them.  If I come over asking for a coffee, then it’s my own problem if your coffee is shit, but if you’re offering, then I’m assuming it’s good.

A good parallel might be if I wanted to borrow your car which really had a bad muffler problem, and you’re kind enough to lend it to me, I should really tolerate that issue, and perhaps think twice before asking to borrow your car again.  Now if you’re OFFERING me that car to borrow for the day, I’d be much happier if it were in good repair.  NOW it looks bad on you.  The message is ‘do me a favor and don’t do me any favors’.  Don’t offer me your broke down car, and don’t offer me coffee if you don’t have the first sweet clue how to brew a cup (or have cream and sugar).

Having said that, I have no cream in the fridge right now.  I’m not going back to the store on principle alone, because I was just there yesterday.  Right now I’m choking down some otherwise lovely coffee from Vienna……… with milk.  Some of you think that’s an acceptable substitute.  I’m here to tell you it’s not.

Coffee without cream is like Andrew Ridgeley without George Michael, like the Boston Red Sox without Terry Francona, like 1985 without neon, like running without scissors, like KISS without the makeup, like bumper stickers that aren’t hilarious, like biographies with no controversy, like party mix without cheesies…. ok, you get it.

I do realize that other people have worse problems than this, so I’m very fortunate that the worst thing that will probably happen to me today is that I had to have milk in my coffee.  Still though….. it’s horrible.