Friday, June 22, 2012

Elevator Exasperation

Alright, maybe I’m just a cranky-pants this week, but I’ve been more annoyed than usual by elevators. Not the elevators themselves, mind you, but the people that use them. Now, you might wonder what could possibly be so different in elevator usage between Korea and the US, and that’s a legitimate thing to wonder. It seems pretty simple: you wait for people to exit the elevator, people exit the elevator and go about their merry way, you enter the elevator. Simple. Or at least it should be.

Door Hoggers
My first annoyance is with people that stand directly in front of the elevators while waiting for it to come. It’s like they’re so impatient that they ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE on the elevator as soon as the doors open.

Ok, fine, be the first one on – I don’t care. But the elevator-door-hugging person always seems to forget that there are PEOPLE ALREADY INSIDE.

“What?! That can’t be possible…this is my personal moving box. The door. It’’s opening just for me!” Seems to be what goes through their minds. I never fail to be amazed by their amazement that *gasp* people are trying to exit the elevator. They seem to forget that people need to get off of the elevator before they can get on. If you’re one of the people trying to get around the human wall standing directly in front of the door, this is very, very annoying. Especially when you encounter it at work. Every. Single. Freaking. Day.

Now, I don’t know if “airhead” should really be the right term here, but they seem to have no clue of that there is a world around them. I actually experienced this situation this very morning when I got to work.

You’re waiting for the elevator – off to the side like a good little person and not playing human wall directly in front of it. The doors open and people begin to exit and go about their business.

Except for one. One completely oblivious person that seems to forget that there’s a world moving around them steps out and stops. Directly in front of the elevator doors. This person then begins to discuss with her companion which way they are going.

Now, believe it or not, I’m a fairly patient person (shut up – I can hear you laughing), so I wait for her to realize, “Oh yeah, the world doesn’t revolve around me,” and to move the fuck out of the way. She doesn’t realize this. Her friend finally notices the large foreigner glaring angrily at the back of her head and pulls her arm for her to move. She’s still kind of oblivious until she turns and sees me blankly staring at her. She gives one of those “surprised Korean” noises and slowly sidesteps out of the way while mumbling, “Sorry.”

At this point, she’s moved so slowly that the doors are closing and I can’t reach around her without giving her a shove to stick my arm in to stop them. She should be happy that there weren’t any blunt objects within my reach.

Now, you may be thinking, “So people block the doors once in a while.” But you don’t realize (unless you’ve been to Korea) that this is only part of a larger annoyance. They do this very same thing EVERYWHERE: elevators, escalators, doorways, department store aisles…literally everywhere. So it’s pretty much a daily occurrence unless you’re a recluse.

The Button Spazzer
We have these people in the US, too, of course, but I’ve never seen such an abundance of them as I have here. You know the people I’m talking about. The people that press the “Door Open,” or “Door Close,” or “Elevator Call” button once.

But the doors aren’t opening fast enough/closing fast enough or the elevator isn’t coming fast enough. So they press the button again. And again. And againagainagainagain.

It’s almost as if they have some personal vendetta against the poor elevator button they’re beating it so much. The elevator button is all that is wrong with the world, and by smashing the hell out of it, everything will be all sunshine rainbows again. No. No, it won’t. The only thing that pounding on the button does is annoy people around you and prove you’re an idiot.

The “One-More-Will-Fit” Guy
If you’ve been to Korea, you know that personal space is pretty much non-existent. This is most evident in elevators. I work in a very large building with lots of people – mostly Koreans. So when it’s lunchtime, the elevators are absolutely crazy. It’s understandable that it’s most efficient to fit the most people in as you can so that everybody can go to lunch at the specified time. However, it’s nice to be able to breathe on the way down and not be pressed against people you don’t know for a 30-floor ride.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but next time people are getting into an elevator in Korea, watch where they look. They don’t look at the body space and see how much body space is available – they always look at the floor first to see if there is feet space.

If there’s room for 2 feet, well then, of course their whole body will fit! And they will squeeze themselves inside. In the summer, it’s made worse because people are sweaty and stinky.

*Sigh* Okay, I think I feel better now…until next time someone does one of these things at least.


  1. Tee hee - i find this amusing. :P You haven't spent a lot of time at the hospitals and medical schools over this way.

    Every time I have the option of cramming into the elevator with a car load of people, I always think of the guy that got trapped in one for the weekend. And then I think of being trapped with ALL those people for even an hour. I'm just too claustrophobic; I'd rather take the stairs thank you very much.

    My unique solution to your situation:

    Bring an umbrella when you're about to enter an elevator, and open it. Viola! Personal space abounds!

    And for good measure, keep it open and pointed about groin area for when you're walking in, out, and generally around the elevator.

    from your favorite amer-asian

    1. Ha! I'll have to keep that in mind! Sometimes they leave a little gap of space around the foreigner (me) in the elevator - it's kind of funny. :) I just don't like people I don't know pressed against me. If it's a friend or someone from my team, that's fine - I know you and I've worked with you for a few years now.
      Funny you mention the umbrella. When it rains, I watch people bounce off of inanimate objects and each other with their umbrellas :)