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.