Give It. A SECOND.

Times are changing. And so, it elevatorwould seem, are people’s manners.

From sidewalks to subways, it’s as if the unsaid rules of courtesy towards strangers are evaporating.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still people out there who hold the door for others, wait for people to pass if there’s a small bottleneck on a pathway, or help people with carts or strollers off buses and up or down stairways. I have no quarrel with them.

It’s the others. Specifically, those who apparently have forgotten basic elevator etiquette. You may have encountered them yourself.

Imagine this: You’re at work, and decide to go downstairs for lunch or a snack break.

Perhaps you’re the only person in the elevator car, so you have half a moment of peace and quiet to yourself.

The elevator reaches the ground floor. As you prepare to exit and the doors open, someone waiting on the outside bursts in before you even have a chance to set foot outside. Maybe they’re paying more attention to their phone than to what’s in front of them. Or maybe they’re not.

And although they don’t say anything as you try to get around them, sometimes they just look at you – or through you – as if you’re the one who committed the faux pas.

This is something I’ve been noticing more and more.

Once in a while, it might be because I’m tucked away from the entrance and the person just doesn’t see me. But in other cases, it’s someone (in my experience, it’s usually been a man) who just charges onto the elevator.

Once, while waiting for an elevator at work, I was almost knocked over by a dude rushing out … wearing a hot dog costume. (Long story. Insert obnoxious joke here.)

Usually, by the time I want to say something, the elevator’s gone, and the moment has passed.

But since I don’t have the powers to stop or suspend time, I’ve got a little public service announcement to those repeat offenders:

Hey. YOU.

What’s goin’ on?

Someone chasin’ you?

Are you secretly a super-hero who needs to change into your costume?

Are your feet literally on fire?

No?

THEN WHY CAN’T YOU WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO VACATE ELEVATORS?

Who exactly are you?

How long do you think it takes for one or two people to exit an otherwise empty elevator? (Answer: Maybe a few seconds.)

And, question number nine: Why, when people try to get around you to leave said elevator, do you give them dirty looks?

YOU’RE THE ONE WHO’S GETTING IN THEIR WAY.

Look, I know how annoying and inconvenient it must be for you. I knooow. So here’s a couple of tips to making the experience much less so:

(1) When the elevator doors open (and it’s obvious there’s someone inside), STAND TO THE SIDE.

(2) Wait for people to leave the elevator before boarding it yourself.

(2a) GIVE IT. A SECOND.

Seem clear enough?

If not, repeat steps (1) through (2a) until it sinks in. I assure you, once it does, it will make things more pleasant and efficient for everyone involved.

 

 

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One Night In Ajax (Or, How NOT to Throw A Birthday Dinner)

So for the first time in ages, I completely wasted Friday night.

After a hellish week at work, I left as quickly as possible, to meet my friend so she could drive us to Ajax for a friend’s surprise birthday dinner “organized” by his wife.

I put the term “organized” in quotations, because when she sent us an e-mail last Friday to invite us to her husband’s birthday, she mentioned

  • the date
  • the time we’d be having dinner and
  • the name of the restaurant (misspelled), in Ajax. Period.

To be fair, we didn’t think we’d make it, so we e-mailed her to let her know. However, when plans changed, we e-mailed her immediately – 32 hours before the event – to let her know we could make it.

My friend gave me the task of getting directions to the place. It took me about 9 or 10 tries on Google to try and find something with the restaurant’s name, because our friend never gave us an address.

I printed out my Google maps and placed them aside from the work-related mess on my desk, so I wouldn’t lose them and, because it was the kind of day I was having, I promptly forgot them on my desk when I fled the building for the subway. Luckily I remembered the streets in question, and managed to locate them in my friend’s Perly’s map book.

We drove through rain, and in between crazy truckers and equally crazy motorists to get there.

After going the wrong way once in Ajax – and me getting smacked in the eye for messing up the one job my friend trusted me with – we found the restaurant our friend was having his dinner.

Or so we thought.

We walked in and no looked around. There was a birthday party, all right. Not our friend’s though. It was the 50th birthday for this guy who had a similar sounding name. We asked the guy in charge of the crappy music whether our friend was there. He couldn’t help us. Neither could the hostess in charge.

We decided to try and find a phonebook to check if there were any other restaurants with similar names in Ajax. The same hostess didn’t seem to have one (since they stopped printing phonebooks SO LONG AGO). We went to the nearby Dairy Queen, where surprise! they DID have one. We scanned it. Nope. No similarly-named establishments.

Then we decided it was time to try calling our friend. Except for one minor issue: neither of us had her current number. Nor did she supply one in her invitation e-mail. We quickly checked the phonebook on hand, but with no luck.

So: no address given. No contact phone number in case anything happened and we needed to locate her.

Huh.

My friend and I checked the restaurant one last time, a little perplexed. We left, crossed the plaza parking lot, and checked the pool hall on the far side of the complex.

No sign.

Huh.

So we went to Applejack’s, had a burger and club sandwich, got in the car and went home.

About a half-hour later, I wrote my friend an e-mail. I’ll be intrigued with read her response to what happened.

Perhaps I’m insensitive with what I’m about to say …

But if I didn’t know better, I’d say that the planning behind that party was the shittiest ever.

When one organizes an event and invites friends of the guest of honour to attend, isn’t it common sense to include vital information that would assist would-be guests in attending said event?

And if one plans and event and has to change venues at the last minute, wouldn’t it also be common sense to inform potential guests of the change so that they act accordingly, especially those travelling from a distance?

At least, that’s what we do where I come from. And by “where I come from”, I mean Planet Earth.

Perhaps I’m being waaaaay too harsh and she just didn’t check her e-mail. In which case, she might get a pass. 

But if that wasn’t the case …

The next time she organizes a party and invites me, I’m might have a “reason” I’m not attending, and I’ll give her as much information about my non-attendance, as she did about this party.

Peeved Post-script: After the trek to Nowhere, my friend and I e-mailed her separately to find out what happened. I received her response the following Monday morning. Apparently when they called to reserve, they found out the place in Ajax already had a birthday party reserved there. So they moved the party to Pickering instead. Mmmmm. Special.

Shoes On? Or Off? The Party Etiquette Debate. (Kind Of.)

What’s Christmas party season without an etiquette-related post? 

So as I was rousing myself into consciousness late yesterday morning, I was listening to CBC Radio’s show GO!

In one segment, they sent comedienne Sabrina Jalees out on the street to find out from people how they felt about going to parties where the host or hostess might ask them to take their shoes off.

Perhaps I’m just crazy or not “cool”, but I was a bit surprised how many people say they keep their shoes on.

There were people in the other camp, who do take their shoes off. But for some reason, they didn’t seem as large a number.

Coming from a household where you pretty much take your shoes off when you step inside the door – and, I guess, I’ve just been used to taking off my shoes at other people’s houses – it’s kinda weird for me not to do.

Although I find as I get older and go to parties and various functions held by different people, I’ve adopted a bit of a modified strategy:

I assess the situation. If I go to a house party, only the floors of the house are concrete, or whatever – and everyone else is wearing shoes, then I would consider keeping them on.

But in a house with carpet (that’s probably going to be hard to clean after everyone’s left)? Shoes off. Although I’m still more likely at a house party to doff the shoes – old habits die hard. I just make sure the socks I wear don’t have holes in them 🙂 .

So how do you handle the shoe etiquette at parties?  Just curious.