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the elevator: a “how to”

October 25, 2011

To the lady at the Beverly Center who drove me batsh#t crazy with her elevator antics a few days ago: this post is dedicated to you.

How to Ride an Elevator: in 4 Easy Steps

1. Getting On. I know how overwhelming it can be to choose an elevator but here’s a tip: simply decide if you’re going up or down and once you find an elevator going in the direction of your choice step inside. Just do it. I promise you’ll be okay. 

2. Choosing a Destination. Decisions…decisions. Here’s a thought: how about pressing the button that corresponds to the floor you’re going to? This foolproof strategy will ensure that you won’t waste electricity on 10 unnecessary stops, nor will you further inconvenience the other passengers who’d prefer to get to their destination in this century.

Up Next: a "How-To" on filling the parking meter so you don't get exorbitant parking tickets.

3. Managing the Trip. (This one is dedicated to my husband). There is no cell phone reception in an elevator. None. I assure you that the person on the other end of your phone can’t freaking hear you repeating “Hello? I’m in an elevator and there’s no reception!” Please, for the love of God, put the phone DOWN for 30 seconds. I guarantee you’ll live to tell about it.

4. The Exit. I realize how confusing it can be when you arrive at your chosen floor. Is it really your chosen floor? Did we really get there so quickly? Is the digital number in bright red on top of the door really telling the truth? Yes, yes, and yes. So please get out. And move on with your day so I can move on with mine.

And from the bottom of my heart?  Thank you.

127 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2011 12:51 am

    Oh, I’ve got an elevator peeve too: heavy perfume. Think of the people who are trapped in the elevator with you forced to breathe in your claustrophobic scents… I have bad memories from being a little girl in my grandma’s building. Those old ladies really like to layer their scents!
    *kisses* HH

    • October 25, 2011 6:42 pm

      Agreed HH! I don’t like perfume at all. I don’t get the appeal + I am allergic to it. But then again, what am I not allergic to, right?

  2. October 25, 2011 1:28 am

    hahahahahaha ok this is hilarious :D…kudos…. You are so at home at this kind of writing :D….love it.

  3. October 25, 2011 2:55 am

    That just made my day 🙂 Very funny. I must admit, I’m THAT lady in the library elevator, never knowing which number to press and looking twice at the digits.

    • October 25, 2011 6:43 pm

      I’m ok if one looks at the digits twice…it’s when the press a whole bunch of them for no reason that mystifies me…

  4. October 25, 2011 3:24 am

    Laughs!!! Hilarious post girl. I’ve always wanted to post about the randoms that fill our world. You’ve made my day! 🙂

  5. October 25, 2011 3:54 am

    Seriously- it’s like they completely lose all memory when walking into the elevator… I’m in a hurry, people!

  6. October 25, 2011 4:12 am

    Hahaha – for real, it’s not that difficult! I win with bad elevator stories- I was in a crowded elevator a couple of weeks ago and somebody let it rip badly. It was a painful ride!

  7. October 25, 2011 4:55 am

    I have a sub step to add on to #1. If the elevator is already full, please wait for the next one. Do not make all of the people already on the elevator squeeze together like sardines. I promise another one is on its way.

    • October 25, 2011 6:45 pm

      Good point! I second your proposed sub step to #1.

  8. October 25, 2011 5:14 am

    Everything you say is TRUE!! I used to work in a hospital and believe me there was bad elevator behavior going on there all the time! When the doors would open, the people outside would start to rush on, not allowing those inside to get out! Usually these were employees having no concept that the people inside might be patients departing or elderly visitors. The stampede was on regardless. My favorite was when someone would be transporting a patient on a stretcher and people would still try to jam on the elevator before the poor person driving the stretcher could safely remove the patient. Do you think I’m with you on this, Ameena? You bet I am. And thank you for bringing it up! 😉

    • October 25, 2011 6:45 pm

      I debated writing a point about people allowing the passengers to exit before they enter, but the post already seemed too long. Glad you feel the same way Fran!

  9. October 25, 2011 5:25 am

    HA. Couldn’t agree more! After the parking ticket post, maybe you can enlighten the world with how to properly ride an escalator. People seem to be thoroughly confused!

    • October 25, 2011 6:46 pm

      Oh yes, the escalator. Stand to the RIGHT people. Stand to the right.

  10. October 25, 2011 5:57 am

    thank you, Ameena! this will certainly be helpful for those who have issues with elevators! Although, I work in a building with 4 elevators and 6 floors, and we never seem to have these kinds of issues!! haha.

    • October 25, 2011 6:47 pm

      You are lucky I guess…I encounter elevator misuse each and every day!

  11. October 25, 2011 6:07 am


    You always make me smile w/ your perspectives & insights 🙂 X (even about elevators) !

    • October 25, 2011 6:47 pm

      Thanks for the comment…so glad I could make you smile.

  12. October 25, 2011 6:10 am

    I get frustrated with people who don’t know how to use the escalator! It’s stand to the right, walk to the left. How hard is that?

    • October 25, 2011 6:49 pm

      I totally agreed. Stand to the right. The right! I feel the same way in traffic…please drive 55 mph in the right lane and only the right lane.

      Clearly I need anger management.

  13. October 25, 2011 6:12 am

    Awesome. Why do people have such a hard time with elevators?

  14. October 25, 2011 6:18 am

    hahaha – I guess maybe there aren’t that many elevators around here, but I rarely see bad elevator behaviour like that. What REALLY bothers me is when people can’t wait for everyone else to get off before they get on. How did they miss learning that little tidbit of elevator etiquette?

    • October 25, 2011 6:50 pm

      Agreed! I wanted to address this issue as well but I felt like my post was already a bit lengthy…

  15. October 25, 2011 6:27 am

    I have an awful fear of getting trapped in an elevator so my anxiety and tension is already heightened the minute I step into one. So if you do anything to further that state of panic for me, there is a chance I will freak out on you. Or at least sigh really loudly.

    • October 25, 2011 6:50 pm

      My mom was trapped in an elevator…she shares your fears.

  16. October 25, 2011 6:45 am

    Hahaha… thank you for the morning laugh. I almost spilled my (instant) coffee 🙂
    I usually have problems with people who does not know how to drive properly and the scary party is, they are everywhere!! Ughhh!

    • October 25, 2011 6:51 pm

      I feel like L.A. drivers are the worst but I do think that NY is probably a close second. I feel your pain.

  17. October 25, 2011 7:01 am

    Riding in elevators always makes my stomach kinda quesy. If it’s not too tall of a building, I prefer the stairs. I’m weird.

    • October 25, 2011 6:52 pm

      I prefer to use the stairs too but they are hard to find at the mall…or at least the Beverly Center.

  18. October 25, 2011 7:05 am

    hahahahaha I love this.
    I try to avoid elevators – I feel like theyre always full of the craziest people.

  19. October 25, 2011 7:15 am

    Hahahaha! This post just made my day!!!

  20. October 25, 2011 7:38 am

    Someday I’m coming to LA and doing A Day In The Life Of Ameena with you. It’s going to be absolutely spectacular. In the meantime, we just have to keep on layin’ down the law in our respective ‘hoods. It’s not pretty, but someone has to be the voice of reason.

    p.s. When we were deciding how many quarters we wanted to shove in the meter this weekend, I tossed in an extra one. Just for you.

    • October 25, 2011 6:52 pm

      An extra quarter just for me? Kat, you’re the best. The Best!

  21. October 25, 2011 7:45 am

    I think perhaps a ‘how to’ on the electric walkways in airports may be next. They seem to confuse the heck out of people and that’s when my rage kicks in.

    • October 25, 2011 6:53 pm

      Again, why can’t people just stand to the right? Is this not a worldwide rule?

      • October 26, 2011 6:45 pm

        Haha, no in NZ you need to stay to the left 🙂 Funny upside down country.

  22. October 25, 2011 7:52 am

    Bahaha. You are so funny…and helpful! 😉

    • October 25, 2011 6:53 pm

      If I can help just one person…I’ll consider my life’s work done. 🙂

      As an aside, how dramatic am I?

  23. October 25, 2011 8:14 am

    Very funny! Yes. Why must people make even the most simple tasks so incredibly complicated.

  24. October 25, 2011 8:42 am

    Can I tell you what else I find annoying? When you are waiting for the elevator and the elevator call button’s light is clearly lit up and someone comes by and starts pressing the button repeatedly. It will not come any faster,people. Really.

    • October 25, 2011 6:54 pm

      Maya does this. Every single time. It drives me bananas.

  25. October 25, 2011 9:19 am

    I can’t remember the last time I was in an elevator. Seriously. From what I do recall, though, one of my least favorite things was people who don’t move to the back when they’re the first on. Grrrrrr

    • October 25, 2011 6:54 pm

      How is it possible that you don’t have to ride in elevators? I’m a bit envious.

  26. October 25, 2011 9:36 am

    You forgot the part about how people ALREADY inside the elevator get to exit before anyone new comes on. I hate when people just come in and the door starts closing because I can’t get out in time!

    • October 25, 2011 6:55 pm

      I wanted to address this, really I did. But my post was getting too lengthy and I felt this issue deserved not to be rushed!

  27. October 25, 2011 10:16 am

    Can you please add two more rules…
    1. Always let people get off the elevator before you get on
    2. When exiting the elevator be sure to clear the immediate area so you don’t cause a traffic jam.
    Those two things kill me!!!

    • October 25, 2011 6:55 pm

      Deena…I knew you’d understand. And consider your rules added.

  28. caloricandcrazy permalink
    October 25, 2011 10:25 am

    Absolutely love this! But I must say I have experienced something along the lines of step 4 in the past week. I wasn’t sure if it was my stop, but I got out anyways not wanting to perturb the other people in the elevator. Turns out I was on the second floor, and had to walk down the stairs anyways…

    • October 25, 2011 6:56 pm

      You are so enviously kind an thoguhtful. If only other passengers were as considerate!

  29. October 25, 2011 10:28 am

    You just opened my eyes to a whole new idea, Ameena (lol). The phone reception part was my favorite. Can’t wait to read about parking meters! 🙂

    • October 25, 2011 6:57 pm

      To be honest, the phone reception was my favorite part too. 🙂

  30. October 25, 2011 10:48 am

    Spot on. But what to do about the kid or the guy that stares at you blankly? With all others, I feel I can wait 30 seconds before exploding. But the bugged eye look…get off please!

    • October 25, 2011 6:58 pm

      Thankfully nobody really stares at me. This may be because they are too busy staring at their phones. The ones that don’t get any reception.

  31. October 25, 2011 10:51 am

    Hahaha!! If I had a dollar for each time I heard someone say, “I’m in an elevator. There’s no reception”, I’d be typing this comment from a yacht in Greece!

  32. October 25, 2011 11:03 am

    OMG, hilarious! I can only imagine how ridiculous your husband may sound in the parking meter instructional.

  33. October 25, 2011 11:05 am

    I’ve printed out your tutorial and will carry it with me for the next time I’m about to take an elevator.

    • October 25, 2011 6:59 pm

      May I suggest making copies and handing them out? 🙂

  34. October 25, 2011 11:22 am

    haha.. you tell it like it is. i love that! the worst is when it is super crowded.

    • October 25, 2011 6:59 pm

      I bet you have to deal with that in NYC far more than me!

  35. October 25, 2011 12:46 pm

    Hahaha! Ah elevators; such an interesting exhibit of humanity! The other day Nazneen and I were in an elevator in a parking garage having a deep conversation when a bats**t crazy woman stepped in and started cursing over there not being proper signage over which number corresponded to the ground floor- we obviously didn’t care because we were deep in conversation but the fact that she kept interrupting us to “vent” was just ridiculous

    • October 25, 2011 7:00 pm

      Proper signage? Isn’t the floor number adequate?

  36. October 25, 2011 12:56 pm

    ha ha…elevators are also fun when a person with major BO steps in and you try to hold your breath until you pass out..oh yes I love elevators!

  37. October 25, 2011 1:05 pm

    We only ride on elevators when we’re staying in a hotel and of course all the kids want to press the buttons and they cry and whine that it’s their turn and it’s super fun!!!!

    • October 25, 2011 7:01 pm

      At least they are kids…their excitement is understandable. It’s the normally functioning adults that confuse me.

  38. October 25, 2011 1:27 pm

    My son loves to ride on elevators, He loves to press the buttons.
    Good thing, he knows not to press the emergency button.

    • October 25, 2011 7:01 pm

      Kids love any and all buttons. I speak from experience here…

  39. October 25, 2011 2:40 pm

    Look at how entertaining living in LA is! Why would you ever want to move to the East Coast? 🙂

    • October 25, 2011 7:02 pm

      I guess there’s one plus to living in LA – I won’t run out of things to complain about on my blog!

  40. October 25, 2011 2:52 pm

    Gosh heavy perfume in elevator drives me crazy. For God’s sake take a bath with water!

    • October 25, 2011 7:02 pm

      “For God’s sake take a bath with water!”

      I could have written this my friend. Brilliant.

  41. October 25, 2011 3:06 pm

    Hahahaha this kind of made my day 🙂

  42. October 25, 2011 3:18 pm

    Ameena, your posts never fail to put a smile on my face, and for that I thank you 🙂

  43. October 25, 2011 3:51 pm

    hilarious. thank you 🙂

  44. October 25, 2011 4:47 pm

    Ha, love the third one! It always annoys me when people do that. Just kindly tell them before entering that you will lose service and then call back. There–problem solved! On a somewhat related sidenote, I love how on elevators (particularly college ones, in my experience) people pretend to be texting on their phones to cover the awkward silence. Which is sort of silly, because we all know that there is no service so you can’t actually be texting. lol

    • October 25, 2011 7:04 pm

      I think it’s funny how we all use our phones to smooth over awkwardness…and the more we do this the more awkward we get. It’s a vicious cycle.

  45. October 25, 2011 5:51 pm

    People that want to make friends. It’s a 30 sec ride. I realize it’s awk. Just look at the floor.

  46. October 25, 2011 5:54 pm

    I worked at a state agency in a big building with a lot of old, smelly, ugly people. One of the worst parts of my day was managing the idiots that got on the elevator (for the love of god, if you’re going up one flight, just take the fing stairs). One day, my very good friend decided to play a joke. We got on the very full elevator, and I turned around like a normal person, but she decided to not turn around. She spent the next thirtyish seconds staring at these idiots and someone managing to not laugh. It was great to be the weird ones, for once.

    • October 26, 2011 8:57 am

      People who are going up 1-2 floors? I also beg you to take the stairs. Please!

  47. October 25, 2011 6:21 pm

    Haha, I knew when I want to start a my day with laughter, this is where I should be! Good one Ameena:D

  48. October 25, 2011 7:12 pm

    Don’t forget the instruction to step aside, for the love of God, if my floor arrives before yours does.

  49. October 25, 2011 8:08 pm

    The good news: at least you didn’t get STUCK in the elevator with the crazy lady. THAT would have been BAD.

    • October 26, 2011 8:58 am

      I wouldn’t have survived to tell about it. I know that for sure.

  50. October 25, 2011 11:22 pm

    Youe blog makes me laugh out loud! LOVE it!

  51. October 26, 2011 3:43 am

    Love this. Can I please add- if you have any doubts about whether you should squeeze into an elevator, based on the fact that it looks pretty full it is full and kindly wait for the next one.

  52. October 26, 2011 5:36 am

    In the UK, we call them lifts – there is nothing that ‘lifts’ you like people cramming themselves into an already full space and pretending their BO is not going to bother anyone.

    – Razwana

  53. October 26, 2011 9:00 am

    How funny. I think people in the UK are so much more considerate. Is that not the case?

    • October 26, 2011 11:59 am

      Considerate? Nah, we just don’t make eye contact with anyone and call it ‘being polite’.

  54. October 26, 2011 11:37 am

    Love. Just love. You’ll go insane in Madrid. I do. Even if the patrons know how to use the elevator, the elevator moves 3 times as slow. We live on the top floor of our building and it takes forever to get home. Our building only has 6 floors.

    • October 27, 2011 2:15 pm

      So I should bring my extra stash of patience when I come visit Madrid in December? I better start saving up.

  55. October 26, 2011 11:38 am

    LOL i love how-to books/article/posts!!

    my baby brother need a post on how-to get out of being spoiled

  56. October 26, 2011 12:36 pm

    How come dudes always feel the need to fart right as they leave an elevator? That goes beyond the standard elevator etiquette.
    haha This post was hilarious.

    • October 27, 2011 2:16 pm

      Luckily I haven’t had to deal with that lovely problem. My heart goes out to you!

  57. October 26, 2011 1:02 pm

    I just want to thank the “elevator genius” that made this post possible.

  58. October 26, 2011 2:01 pm

    bahahah this is so funny!

    i hate when you say something polite to someone else in the same elevator as you, and they choose not to respond because of the understood awkwardness associated with the elevator.

    • October 27, 2011 2:16 pm

      Why does so much awkwardness surround the elevator? A study should be done on this.

  59. October 26, 2011 6:16 pm

    Good grief! Where do these people come from? I would have tossed her out at the first stop.

  60. October 26, 2011 10:03 pm

    Ok I gotta ask, do you get annoyed at people who press the elevator button 5 times as though doing so would make the elevator come faster? I totally understand if it’s one of those that don’t have a light up light. But if there’s a light up light then WTH? right? Lol. Yeah, strange pet peeve, I know.

    • October 27, 2011 2:17 pm

      Of course I get annoyed LeQuan because I have the patience of an ant. It even bothers me that everything bothers me.

  61. October 27, 2011 7:16 am

    Love this. I work on the 10th floor of an office building in South Austin, so I have had many experiences in our lovely elevators. I would love to print this off and hang it in the elevators! Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. I’ve missed visiting! So glad my arm is back.

  62. Pankti permalink
    October 27, 2011 8:07 am

    Hey Ameena,
    I came across this blog from a friend’s twitter post, but I must say, I am glad I did. Finally, its been 2 weeks and now I am caught up on your blog, read each and every post and most of the comments!!!
    You are Hilarious, and I love your sarcasm. And I think you are a fabulous human being, and a great Mom/wife!!
    I love this post, and its ridiculous how some people take forever to decide which floor to go on????
    Will keep on reading this blog for sure!!!

    P.S. Maya is so cute!!

    • October 27, 2011 2:19 pm

      Thank you Pankti, for what might be the nicest comment I’ve ever received. And thank you for reading! And for the compliments. I am totally overwhelmed here…

      • Pankti permalink
        October 28, 2011 7:32 am

        Oh I am so Happy to read your reply, I was seriously addicted to your blog!!
        On a different note, how is it going for the book you were planning to write?
        I hope I inspired you to write more, because if your blog is so good, I can only imagine what your book will be like!!

      • October 28, 2011 11:31 am

        The book is … going. It’s so much harder than I thought! I’m working on it but knowing that it might never find a publisher doesn’t exactly build up my motivation and confidence. I’m not stressing about it anymore though, if it happens it happens. If not I’m just happy that very kind people like you read my blog! Thanks for asking. 🙂

  63. October 29, 2011 7:29 am

    We have escalators at work and honestly? It’s as if we need a job aide to use them. People are unbelievable. I think the one dedicated to Ali made me laugh the hardest! Ahh where would we be if our husbands didn’t exist to serve as a constant source of amusement.

  64. October 30, 2011 3:37 pm

    you have it covered!!,fun read Aneena 🙂

  65. October 30, 2011 7:08 pm

    Oooh speaking of an elevator, there was one time at my workplace we had a fire drill that everyone had to get out. Once we were allowed back to the building, the elevator was so full that it even “sunk” a bit….scary! I didn’t get into that one and waited for the next one!

  66. October 31, 2011 5:31 am

    great Now i know how to do that .. let me go to the nearest mall and try this out 🙂

  67. November 1, 2011 1:37 pm

    Thank you for this. I live in a high rise and work in a high rise, so the elevator woes I have are plenty. My number one tip: DON’T BE AWKWARD! For example, don’t sing aloud in the elevator. No one wants to hear it. Also, a friendly hello is fine, but leave it at that. I will never see you again (okay fine, I will since I live and work in these places, but I pretend that I won’t for my own sanity) and I DO NOT want to talk to you about the weather or the sports team on my shirt. Leave me ALONE!
    That is all.

    • November 1, 2011 7:23 pm

      People sing in the elevator? I can’t say I’ve experienced that one before!

  68. November 3, 2011 2:18 pm

    Hahaha! 😀 And don’t worry so much: I don’t believe a child is spoiled already from having a pair of Ugg boots! So, donating to the earthquake victims in Turkey instead of sending your child to India is a good thing. And this is said by someone who doesn’t have kids, but will totally freak if she’s ever going to have one. 😉

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