The Elevator Conundrum

I’m an observer. I won’t lie. I like to watch the world going past me and I take it all in. As a writer, I forgive myself from trying to pry into the lives of other people. All of this is good for my future work, I tell myself as I scribble down notes about things I hear, how people interact, how they dress, or how they forgot to wear a bra with that tight white shirt and left the house in a rainstorm. Those are my favorite people to watch – who am I to lie? But rain is less common here in the Middle East and no one seems to go without a bra (except for the morbidly obese males who probably need one). However, since drainage seems to be a problem here, the rain offers a whole bunch of other things to look forward to – flooded basements, drivers that flood their cars because they don’t know that a Lamborghini isn’t meant to drive through a three foot deep puddle. Good times I tell you.

So, I watch people. Luckily for me, Dubai is one of the best places in the world to watch people. Certain polls will say there are people from 164 different countries living in Dubai. Most people I know would struggle to name 164 countries. I’m not saying this to belittle them either. If I didn’t watch all the sports I do I wouldn’t get close to naming that many either. Dubai, the most populous of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, is a Muslim city. But, it is quite liberal. Not even all of the locals wear the traditional dress when they are out and about. And many of the Westerners push the boundaries of what is called “respectable”clothing. It really is a wonderful place to learn about the human condition. Or just look at people if you don’t want to get too deep.

You could say I’m a professional people watcher, and as such, I feel confident in laying down this little diatribe about what I see going on around me. I mean, if you could get a double Master’s degree in “Nice tits – too bad you can’t see me staring at them because I’m wearing sunglasses” and “I don’t consider this spying or prying – Just be glad someone is actually interested in what you are doing” from Nosey Fucking Bastard University, I would have graduated top of my class. My thesis, “If you spend the night you’re in a committed relationship” would be heralded as a work of genius by both Charlie Sheen and Gene Simmons. But, I digress.

I have discovered in my travels that people really are curious creatures. Where do I pick up my Nobel Prize for geniosity after that statement huh? You will never fully understand them; but, I have found that watching their habits in elevators can reveal some secrets about them, and an overall arcing pattern that I like to call, “Can you Say BULLSHIT – I’m making this all up.”

There are some truths to what I am about to say though so not everything should be taken with a pinch of salt about as big as Lot’s wife’s pillar. Damn Skippy, I threw in a biblical reference there my bitches. I’m all over the globe today. Now, before I get carried away blowing my own horn (which is possible for me after having 4 ribs removed and being hung like a Snuffleupagus), I shall continue with my elevator musings.

You’re in a crowded elevator and suddenly it empties until only 4 people remain. What do they do? They will, by habit or choice, gravitate to a separate corner. It really is quite curious. I’ve seen this done so many times I feel like paying $3.99 a minute to my Internet provider for the service. And it doesn’t matter where they started in the tangled mass of bodies in the elevator either. Once the crowd disperses quicker than Rednecks when bingo ends, they find the solitude of a corner and wait there until their floor beckons them. Most of the time they’ll fumble with a mobile, pretend to read the manila envelope they are carrying, or stare awkwardly at the lone droplet of piss on their shoes because they didn’t shake it enough before tucking it away. This last point doesn’t really translate well for women though. At least I hope you don’t shake dry. That would be a sight wouldn’t it? Focus Ger, focus. We’re talking elevators here.

When an elevator empties and three people remain you’ll most likely see people occupy the front corner spots, or near enough to them, and one person will form the triangle by holding up the back wall. Two people will just pick a side and leave it at that.

Of course, this also depends on how well you know the people you are in the elevator with. If you go in with friends you might not disperse like you would if you were riding the elevator with complete strangers. Friends might linger beside each other a little longer. People in a brand new relationship will smother each other, all lovey-dovey and goo-goo eyed until maple syrup sappiness drips from every orifice on their bodies. And there’s nothing wrong that. I always keep a box of waffles handy just for instances like that. People married for 10-15 years usually separate a bit. If they have been married longer than that they still remain pretty damn close.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If a “hot” girl is in the elevator on her own, a man will position himself so she has some space but he can check her out without being too obvious about it. Well, unless you live in Saudi Arabia and then subtlety is thrown out the window like a Mexican at the border to California with the cops in hot pursuit. If you are here, then most likely you’ll be visually undressed, dressed, and undressed again before you reach the first floor. Women, and don’t try to deny it, are just as sneaky and conniving as men are (only, like most things, they’re better at it than we are) and they’ll do the same if they think a man reaches 10 on the “I want him to ride me like a Harley down a bumpy road” scale.

Why do we do it? Do we need our own space to feel comfortable in? And, conversely, do we feel we need to give others space because we would like the space ourselves? Isn’t life about relationships and understanding? Surely life isn’t about privacy and prying? Wouldn’t it be better if we just said “hello” rather than stare secretly from behind sunglasses and imagine playing motorboat on an ample set? Or, for the ladies, wouldn’t it better to say, “hello” than to coyly sneak a peak and imagine he’s just rubbed your feet and is slowly working his way up your whole body? I think it would. What do we have to lose?

If you really want to confuse people, here’s what you do – stand in the middle of the elevator a few steps back from the door. Watch as people look at you stunned and then listen to the hamster on the wheel inside their heads go into overdrive as they try and decide a) how to get around you without touching you: b) which side they should go to; c) when was the last time you took your medication; and d) just how much it hurt when you got your penis pierced. Seriously, it throws them for a loop.

Another fun thing to do is to get on the elevator and stand right next to the only other person on it. This really freaks people out. Most single men will move, afraid that you might be “hitting” on them. For added fun, follow them when they move. This can be dangerous, as some people really do like their personal space to remain personal. It is also risky to stand beside a woman on her own as this might be seen as too aggressive. No one will want to stand beside you when you’re screaming like a baby curled up in a ball on the floor with mace in your eyes. Although, and maybe I’m just stating the obvious again, it would make for a good elevator ride (so long as it wasn’t my eyes full of mace).


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