「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Going up?

By Samantha Loong


A while ago, I read how you could tell a lot about a person from how they treat waiters and waitresses. The writer suggested that this proved quite useful for first dates, as how polite — or not — your date behaved towards the waitstaff spoke volumes for your date’s personality.

I suspect that this theory could also be applied to people using elevators. In my building, taking the lift always makes for interesting observations on human behaviour. There are the very polite children who, despite being barely tall enough to reach the buttons, will make an effort to keep the door open for you. And if they exit before you, some will even excuse themselves.

These well-mannered children put some of the adults in my building to shame. I’ve encountered at least a handful of grown-ups who don’t wait for me even though it’s clear that I’m approaching the lift with the intention of using it.

Then there’s the guy who’s polite, but who consistently litters in front of the lift doors before lighting his cigarette inside the lift. My neighbours are an interesting bunch. What I’m curious about in particular are the people who wait for lifts while standing with their faces about five centimetres away from the doors. These people are then shocked and horrified when the lift doors open to reveal a person inside about to walk into them. The classic lift user is of course the one who pushes the buttons repeatedly, thinking that the elevator will somehow sense their urgency and thus move faster.

Generally however, I’ve found most lift users to be rather pleasant. Over in Kansai, they seem to take it one step further in the friendly direction. An Osaka grandmother once offered, and then pretty much forced some of her freshly picked tomatoes onto a friend of mine. Another time in Kobe, a woman in her sixties saw me in my running gear and started a discussion on whether or not she should enter the Osaka Marathon.

If life is a lift, what do you do when you’re waiting for it to get going? Are you quick to close the doors on others? Do you talk to people on the way up or down? And how do you treat those wanting to share your space?

I wonder if — like your date’s treatment of waitstaff — elevator etiquette also gives detailed insight into your date’s real character. Or does elevator use just bring out the best and worst in people? Whatever the case, I’d suggest that for the next few dates you go on, choose restaurants that are at the top of high buildings — just to cover all your bases.



The Japan Times ST: November 28, 2014

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版