Monday, February 5

Homo sapiens (var elevatoricus)

Yeah, yeah, this is one of those cute posts. Y'know the sort that say something that the author thinks is absolutely freaking hilarious, and the reader thinks is bilge. The author knows that the eventual reader (if any) is going to think it's blige. And therein lies the irony of it, cos in the light of the comforting knowledge that the hypothetical reader has prejudged the yet-to-be-written post as bilge, the author increases the cute factor of the post with reckless abandon. Such is life.

I could write a dissertation on this pressing topic (outlined below) but time presses (even I have to work sometimes, courtesy : Dragon Lady aka Boss-Woman who is *not* N). As the more erudite of my hypothetical readers know, there are only two types of people in the world, the ones who start sentences that go 'there are only two types of people in the world' and the ones that don't (whosoever names the source of the quotation shall be named Honorary Flaffee of the week forthwith). I am unabashedly one of the former category and I present you *ta-da* A (Sorely Needed) Dissertation on The Elevator People.

A much-studied (and much-in-need-of-studying) sub-population of the Human spp, the Elevator People have recently been the subject of much controversy and heated debate. If you've missed the documentaries presented by National Geographic and Discovery (yeah, while you were sitting around watching American Idol, other people were trying to Save the World), below is a quick look at the salient characteristics and sub-groups of this sub-population.

The 'Nonchalant' Wall-propper: Easily identified by the studied casual elegance with which he/she props up the elevator walls. Normally spotted with one leg crossed behind the other (it is believed by many behavior scientists that this stance conveys added nonchalance, thereby making the particular Wall-propper uber-nonchalant; there is some discord among scientists as to whether the uber-nonchalant population can be classified as a separate Type unto itself; many petty, pedantic debates have featured this bone of contention in the haute circles of behavior scientists the world over; of course no conclusion has been reached). Some specimens have been observed pursing their lips, as if on the verge of whistling. While unconfirmed reports claim to have heard individuals of this type whistle, popular opinion holds that this is an Old-Wives' Tale. Persons who fall under this category are normally observed to be the last to leave the elevator when it reaches their designated floor. It is believed that said persons believe that this increases nonchalance of their general attitude but certain other types of The Elevator People disapprove of this character trait of the N.W.P.

The Babbler: This group of persons is characterised by their nervous Elevator-Chatter*. The population distribution of this type is believed to be largely geographic segregated. Certain urban habitats in North America and South India have an abundance of this group. However no first-hand data regarding their distribution in other parts of the globe is available (all contributions to the survey can be posted in the comments section herein). An uncanny observation is the complete lack of this species in the United Kingdom (aka Britain). It is commonly believed that the population was driven to extinction in those cold climes by the frigid stares of the Self-appointed-Elevator-Police (expounded on below).

The Self-Appointed-Elevator-Police: This group is often feared by the more timid Babblers and N.W.Ps. Identifiable even to the casual observer by the circle of empty space within which they stand, unmolested by Elevator-chatter and other associated Elevator-Awkwardness-Phenomena (E.A.P). They have on occasion been known to turn towards any offending Elevator-person (the cause for offence including, but not exclusive of, eating, chattering, looking around or sometimes just existing) and 'fix' them with their glimmering eye (not unlike the Ancient Mariner). A frigid aura pervades the elevator when one of this group enters, and hapless victims have been known to feel suffocated in their presence. Persons of this group often make irritated noises (along the lines of tch! or tsk! or sometimes even muttered imprecations) when the elevator stops at more than 2 floors en route to their own level of destination.

The Keen-Observer-of-Human-Nature: Perhaps the most disconcerting of the Elevator people, these specimens tend to critically observe all fellow occupiers of a given elevator. Unnamed sources swear that these individuals take mental notes on the behavior of all fellow-elevatorees. The author is unable to confirm these wild rumors. The members of this group tend to give each fellow-elevatoree dispassionately equal thought and consideration (unless one of the fellow-elevatorees is a certifiably hot specimen of the opposite sex). No member of this group is approachable or amenable to questions regarding their behavior (or so it is claimed by most behavioral scientists), and as such form a relatively unstudied group (in the author's personal opinion this is because of the behavioral scientists' disdain for more amateur members of their profession).

The I'm-Just-Going-to-Pretend-that-it's-not-awkward-to-be-shut-into-a-small-box-with-complete-strangers Category: The last major category on record has a name that is untypically self explanatory. They are a peculiar bunch recognizable by their fixed stares (normally glued to some inanimate part of the elevator), their slight, embarrassed smiles (though the cause for their amusement/embarrassment is hard to identify), and their crab-like sideways movements away from all other animate portions of any given elevator. They tend to hunch further and further into themselves especially in crowded elevators, sometimes to the extent of causing concern to the other temporary inhabitants of said elevator. Self-effacing in the confines of the lift, they are often confident, outspoken members of the community in the outside world. The cause for the change in their behavior pattern within the sacred boundaries of the elevator is the focus of most research in this interesting branch of elevatorology.

As mentioned earlier by the author (who is a very busy person), even a cursory mention of the more minor groups, as well as more detailed discussion of the major ones listed above, is outside the scope of this document. However, the author would like to stress the importance of this branch of psychology as a field of study. Detailed investigation might be a godsend to the Society for the Prevention of Elevator Crimes (SPEC, who are btw open to donations that will help further this research, so the author beseeches all right-minded hypothetical readers to sally forth and pour money into their coffers, you could also post cheques and any potential contributers please e-mail author for the postal address) as well as other unnamed organisations (that are believed by some erstwhile individuals from Interpol to be fronts for Al-Qaeda; this is predictably pooh-poohed by all the eminent elevatorologists who stand strangely unanimous on this subject). A public petition to Bush, GW, to increase funding for this intriguing area of bio-mechanical research will soon be appended to this site. Please watch this space (actually the space above; but also this space if the hypothetical reader so wishes).

*Elevator-chatter: A technical term used to define the inane remarks on the weather, the crops, football, work and String Theory that are indulged in by members of this group. It is believed that the chief obstacle and clumsiness of Elevator-chatter lies in the necessity of either the addresser or the addressee having to exit at varying and normally unknown time-points.


The Man Who Wasnt There said...


Hey what about those who keep staring at the display of the floor numbers surprised that actually the floors are in arithmetic progression of 1? ( now who would have believed that?)

And what about those who suddenly get reminded of their "personal space" and get reminded of those abstruse "body language" passages?

And what about those self appointed observers of human nature who do not know whether to "smile sardonically","keep a straight face","try to blend in","observe hoping they are unobserved" ,"wishing there was a hot specimen of the opposite sex so that they didnt have to think about what to do" etc etc..

And oh talking about hot specimens of the opposite sex actually the last thing one would do is gape/ogle at the specimen(sic!). I actually try my best to avoid looking...I twist,I turn and make gyrations which would put the Arabian belly dancers to shame...

or am I in the minority?:|

Confused & Baffled said...'ve missed me out. the type who stand right in front of the elevator door irrespective of which floor they have to get off on, as a result blocking the paths of all and sundry (including an electronics dept professor yesterday) without giving much of a damn and only a cursory apology as if it might be the other person's fault he/she wants to get off before him.

@man who wasnt: yes. we are in the minority.

Confused & Baffled said...

oh it you who invented the quote? i want to be honorary flaffee!

wait..i do get free icecream or something na? come come, a title like that just begs out for free icecream or sweet eatable! i am i?? do i do i??

Revealed said...

@tmwwt: Hehehehe. Yeah I left out quite a few. Time constraints and all. Also the cell phone fiddlers. And the ones (like C&b) who are apparently the busiest people on earth and who can't wait to get out of the elevator :P. I desperately wanted to include the number-starers. They look to be in such profound thought :P. N yeah, ur def in the minority which is y u werent included in the broad classification.


Is that a claim ur making? That I came up with the quote? It has to be an official claim. Otherwise I might give out the answer and then u'd simply say it wasn't an official claim but now you're ready to make one! I'm onto u y'know ;)

Sunshine said...

Me 1st! :D

I'm a number starer too - most of the times :D. But I don't use elevators unless I have to climb more than 3 floors. Thankfully, my office has only 3 floors - and so I use elevators only rarely.

And the quote - umm.. give me a clue, do I know him/her? :D

Confused & Baffled said...

oh i see. getting wiser by the day are we?

hmm...aaah. *realizes the benefits of maska-oing her and how it might still clench for him the title*

its you, i say! it cannot be anyone else. its dripping with the honey of your wisdom. yes, thats my claim. it is you, oh wise one!

adi said...

and me 2nd
after a long time :)

seems have climbed the fourteen floors of modi-revlon towers in a minute
and all i've to do in an elevator is to stare at my imaginary self in the imaginary mirror in front of me
hey, i gotta be my own minority...

Revealed said...

@SS: Hehehe. I c I shud hv included the number starers. :P
I try to take the stairs too but 12 floors is a bit of a stretch one feels! N yeah, you know the person ;)

@C&b: Hehehehe. You, sir, r the new Honorary Flaffee :). Well done.

@Adi: Welcome. It's been a while :). Missed u. A minority of 1 :D

MockTurtle said...

You missed the no-concept-of-personal-space-strong-body-odour-producer and the is-that-your-umbrella-pressing-against-my-butt-or-are-you-just-happy-to-see-me-pervert.

Revealed said...

@mt: Hehehehe. You meet some scary-ass elevator people!

maya said...

@ TMWWT - u seem as bad ( or good) as rvld!!!

@ rvld- u MUST b jobless...or expts or whatever u do not bearing " yeast":)

Revealed said...

@maya: or whatever you do it seems :P. Dont even ask about expts! *sigh*