: elevator conversations :

Awkward situations are part of life. Falling down in public. Leaving your fly open. Colonoscopies. Forgetting a name. Stuff happens, we survive. Big deal.

Yes, it is. It’s a very big deal. The distressing moments are when real life occurs. Senses heighten, we become alert and watchful and horribly, painfully self-conscious. We’re left to rely on rusty, decayed social skills to dig our way out of whatever quagmire we wandered into. It’s nerve-wracking.

Even something as mundane as an elevator ride can lead to trouble, make us squirm and fidget to beat the band. Living on the eleventh floor, I know this to be true. The curious part is, the more crowded the compartment, the happier the passengers. But when it’s just you and a stranger, things can get weird — depending on the stranger. Not you.

For instance, I stepped into a vacant elevator on eleven and headed to the first floor. It stopped, of course, on nine where a woman got on. Now, typically, you do one of two things: watch the floor numbers light up or stare at your shoes. I chose the floor numbers. The other woman stared at my shoes, not hers. And a peculiar conversation broke out.

Her:  I like your shoes.

Me:  Thanks.

Her:  What are they? Size 2?

Me:  Oh, uh, no. They’re eights.

She jerked back and hit me with a glare. What, wrong answer? It was the truth — to a personal question straight out of nowhere. Seriously, who asks a stranger their shoe size? Did she need proof? Should I take off a shoe, show her?

A little rattled, I went back to watching the numbers light up and she watched me with the intensity of a laser. Dang, I was being flash-fried. When the doors finally opened I wanted to bolt, but I politely said, ‘after you.’ She squinted a silent, hostile accusation and marched forth with an indignant nose in the air.

Stairs, now they’re invigorating. And no one ever uses them.

copyright © 2017 the whirly girl

25 Responses to “: elevator conversations :”

  1. Susan Honthumb

    I am horrible when it comes to small talk with people I don’t know. The worst was when I asked a woman when she was due. When she told me she wasn’t pregnant, I made matters worse by defending my accusation with the question: did you recently have a baby?

    Liked by 1 person

    • the whirly girl

      I’ve done that exact same thing. Except it was a person I knew, but hadn’t seen in ages. And haven’t seen since. Clearly, I’m a buffoon and shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder. I’m a disaster and that’s why I stick to writing. Thank God for delete buttons.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Straddle the Turtle

    Yes, stairs – so good for you! But also there is something I learned because the sun makes me squint. When I squint the muscles in my face cause the corners of my mouth to turn upwards. It makes me look like I’m smiling. It took a long time for me to figure out why most people smile when the see me do this. I would automatically respond with my real smile, which eased tensions for both parties. I decided to greet all people with a smile FIRST just to make my life easier. It works! And the beauty part is it usually makes small talk unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • the whirly girl

      I apologize for what I’m about to say, but here goes: I’m not fast on my feet. Yeee, what an atrocious pun … I would’ve said lame, but then I’d have to kill myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • the whirly girl

      Oooh, dogs. I love dogs. I love talking to dogs. And petting dogs. Being licked by dogs.

      So, yes, you’re absolutely right: dogs make everything easier. Thank you for the reminder :o)

      Liked by 1 person

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