If any Hong Kong local can step forward with a reasonable explanation for the points raised here…I’m all ears.
I’m talking about clueless elevator behaviour. You’d think in a city with 7 million people and probably about as many elevators, that people would have a pretty extensive or solid set of unwritten rules designed to make their 50 elevator rides a day as painless and comfortable as possible. So why…oh why, do they manage to fuck it up so comprehensively, so completely and so badly? Let’s investigate.
If we turn a blind eye to the fairly tame and entertaining usual suspects such as those who savagely and repetitively mash the ‘close’ button like hilarious OCD sufferers, or the people with a cold yet comical refusal to ‘hold the door’, or those cheeky scamps who like to jam themselves into the lift before you’ve gotten out…that leaves two main areas of concern as I see it:
1. (Surprise, surprise)…Talking in the elevator at volume levels that can only be described as totally thoughtless and thoroughly selfish. Hey…this isn’t your living room or your uncle’s cabbage paddock on the mainland. It’s a small reverberant cubicle that’s shared by people in addition to you and your socially inept associates. A lot of people in Hong Kong seem to be a bit like the pet shop goldfish that’s brought home and dropped in the new tank for the first time. At first, they’re a bit docile…a bit stunned when they enter the lift…and you make the mistake of thinking ‘Yes! A quiet descent.’ But it doesn’t take them long to acclimatise and by the time you’ve gone one or two floors they’ve launched into the most ridiculously and unnecessarily loud chat you’ve ever heard in your life. Thank fuck mobile phones don’t work in most lifts. Could you imagine the carnage you’d be forced to endure if solo elevatorists could lob in and yell blue bloody murder on the phone all the way to the ground floor? Anyway, you start to wonder as it is…’Do they know I’m here? Are they aware that there are other people in the lift too? Why are they talking so loud? What is wrong with them? Should I start yelling too?’
And, moving along…
2. Inappropriate directional alignment. This one’s a bit hard to describe, but I’ll try. I’m talking about deadbeats who lean on the side wall facing sideways. Time after time, I’m standing in the lift alone leaning against the back wall looking towards the doors when, zombie like, some idiot enters and stands level with me at the side, staring at the side of my head. For most of us, this is a bit uncomfortable. In a confined space it’s a little creepy to have someone in your peripheral staring blankly in your general direction. It’s off-putting. So, to even things up, I always turn to face whoever it is who just entered…and I stare at their forehead, right between their eyes. In a matter of seconds, they start to feel uncomfortable – they tend to look up, look away, look at their feet, their watch, their fingernails, or study the descending/ ascending floor number display eight times a second…they fidget and stir and spasm and twitch before finally turning to face the door to escape my stare. At this point, I also turn the same way, having taught them the important social lesson of ‘no-one likes to be stared at so when you get into a lift don’t position yourself in a passively challenging, inappropriate direction that makes other people feel uneasy you stupid moron.’ Hong Kong people who enter a lift and stand as thus must be fools because they do it all the time and never seem to learn…and every time the music’s turned back at them they crumble like a fistful of stale, disgusting old moon cake. And I bet they wonder why. Investigations continue…
The rules, for those who don’t know them, are simple:1. Enter the lift and push your button 2. Face the door and be quiet 3. Exit the lift .
Now, congratulations are in order for me. I believe I am the one billionth person to make this observation about Hong Stinking Kong and its fucked in the head elevator etiquette.