Hold the Elevator!

Recently, I have observed a very strange human custom. I say human custom because people in every culture do this. Well, I can only account for the cultures that I have visited and/or lived in, but I would put a lot of confidence in this being a world-wide custom. Why is it that people very willingly and even aggressively stick body parts into closing elevator doors?

If you can honestly tell me that you’ve never done this, then stop reading this blog right now and never visit again because I think there’s a good possibility that you are a liar and I don’t really want blatantly poor liars reading my blog anyway.

But I know that I am guilty on multiple occasions of sticking, most often, my arm into an elevator door. In my mind I think that I am doing a favor for whatever person needs to get on. The other day I realized just how dangerous it really is to put your hand or foot in the elevator. I know, I know, elevators have these motion sensors in the doors that are made for just these kinds of situations. But seriously, why do we put so much faith in technology? I mean, there’s no guarantee that the motion sensor is actually working. And in the case of Japan, most of the motion sensors are functioning at a 1970’s efficiency level. I have had and have seen more close calls in elevators in Japan than I think should happen.

Even today I saw a woman try to forcibly push open the closing doors on the elevator. Okay I just wanted to yell, ‘You are no match for that door! What are you even doing? There are small children who would be traumatized if you lost your hand!’ But, of course, I refrained because that would be impolite, not to mention the fact that she was Japanese and wouldn’t have understood my panicked English exclamation anyway and probably would’ve thought I was a crazy foreigner in my ensuing attempt to act out what I was yelling. And after the week I’ve had, I have no desire to be thought of as crazy.

Here’s the strange thing in this elevator conundrum. There are these very convenient buttons that you could push that actually send a message to the doors faster than the motion sensors. But no one bothers to push the door open button when they’re flustered. Why is that? It actually seems that it would be closer since you always stand closest to the control panel anyway for convenience sake. It would actually be smart, if not a little strange-looking, to see someone with their finger perpetually hovering over the door open button. I don’t know. Maybe elevator companies should send out a world-wide memo or something to suggest safer alternative methods of re-opening closing elevator doors because it just seems that the threat of limb loss just is not worth catching that elevator.


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