For the sake of Anglo-American relations I have interchanged my use of 'lift' and 'elevator' freely throughout the following instuctional piece. Behaviour It occured to me that one of the most perilous social situations a person can find themselves in is to be in an elevator. This may seem absurd, but I assure you, the danger is real. For one, no one in the world knows how to behave in an elevator. The confined space that transports people to different floors in a building can fully bring out the different personality types that our richly mixed society has to offer. There are those that insist on talking to break the silence, Cracking a joke, or making some inane suggestion like 'they should have a call-button halfway down the corridor so we don't have to wait' etc. There are those that choose to stare forward, not even bothering to answer polite questions like 'What floor do you want?' There are those that don't know where to stand, shifting their weight, adjusting their tie, or hair, or belt. There are those that hate confined spaces and on entering the elevator will instantly begin shouting 'OPEN GREEN FIELDS, OPEN GREEN FIELDS!' OR 'CALM BLUE OCEAN, CALM BLUE OCEAN!' Claustrophobia and lift usage are not good buddies. General Usage Guide The general purpose of lifts is to take you to the floor that you want to get to in any given building. Thusly the preferred practise when entering an elevator car is to select the floor of your choice by 'pressing the button' with the floor number on it. It is crucial to examine the button yhou press before pressing it because many lifts do have buttons labelled, 'Kill power' and 'Ring the ear-drum shattering alarm'. On encountering a lift attendant (who nowadays usually only live in Billy Wilder and Coen brothers films), always laugh at the inevitable joke, select your floor by asking him, and not by pushing past him and pushing the button yourself, and on disembarking, if feeling jovial, a tip is greatly appreciated. On finding yourself in a situation in which you've gotten off at the wrong floor simply because someone else has called the elevator, step back in! The momentary embarrassment far outweighs the shame you will feel when you take the remaining floors on foot, only to be greated on arrival by the occupant of the lift, leaving and realising your error and pathetic attempt to cover it up. If carrying a beverage in a lift, take short controlled bursts, and DO NOT SPILL IT on the dress or suit of those next to you. Spilling it on yourself is also not preferable, but can be easily cloaked by effective damage control. If you are unfortunate enough to ever be sick in an elevator, carry a paper cup with you, then you can proclaim, 'Hey I dropped my soup!' to anyone appalled by the mess on the floor. How to Survive 24 hours trapped in an Elevator The game 'I Spy' is an essential tool when stuck in a lift. It allows effective tension breaking, and is at the same time, a good ice-breaker for introducing yourself to a complete stranger. Playing tricks on your other stricken passengers also works wonders. Stuff like announcing 'The leprechaun on my shoulder just told me to kill everyone'. You might find some resistance, but in order to maximise the benfits of such a move, make sure you start acting like a lunatic at the beginning of the 24-hours. Elevator Annoyances Elevator jokes range from pressing all the buttons so that the next passenger to engage the lift must make a stop at every single floor before disembarking at their desired destination, all the way to cutting the cord that suspends the lift from the building's roof structure, forcing the carriage to plummet to the basement, rendering anyone inside an instant corpse. The way to combat the former, less fatal prank is to watch the floor indicator above the door to watch for the speed of the lift you have selected. If it is pausing very often, pick another car. This one ain't for you! The latter problem is more tricky. The only sure fire way to survive a plummet to the floor is to leap in the air just as the lift begins to fall, blasting through the roof hatch, grabbing on to a ridge in the shaft and wait for rescue teams to breach the chamber and pull you out. For the less limber of you, roll into a ball, duck and cover your head, relax every muscle in your body and repent your sins. I hope this has been an informative guide. P.s. I'm bored.