Yay or nay?
via The Sartorialist
I’m of the opinion that no matter how ripped your body is, it’s always a nay. Even if it is on the runway, for fashion (pronounced fah-see-on), even if it is Dolce e Gabbana.
When I entered a lift in London for the very first time, I was surprised to find that there were no buttons with which to close the lift doors. In the place of such a button was an additional “Door Open” button.
“How ridiculous”, I thought. “Why would anyone want two buttons that perform the same function?”
Of course, the next pertinent question was, “How do I close the doors now?” To my bemusement, the doors closed without me doing anything.
Five years on, I decided to revisit this interesting topic and hopefully discover some answers.
I started out by asking some friends who had come from other countries like me if they had similar experiences, and what their thoughts were on the subject. I was unsurprised to find that they had the same questions as I did when they stepped into their first lift (come to think of it, it was probably the same lift, although subsequent lifts that I encountered did not have them buttons anyway). We brainstormed a tad and broadly formed the following theories:
1. Straightforward reason – either the floor numbers act as close-door buttons (CDBs) themselves, or a time-delay is in place to close the doors anyway
2. Psychosocial – that CDBs were deemed impolite when in use, and impinged on desired psychosocial norms i.e. that people should only hold doors open and not shut them on some poor chap trying to catch the lift
3. Others – you know, in case we were too myopic to see the big picture and miss out some weird obvious reason
A quick search on trusty ol’ Google yielded interesting results (yes we’re not the only ones who were curious!):
1. Gizmodo states that a CDB “is there mostly to give passengers the illusion of control. In elevators built since the early ’90s. The button is only enabled in emergency situations with a key held by an authority.”
2. A forum in Snopes circa 2007 concluded that CDBs really do function, but “it’s up to the buyer to determine if that button is needed”. This is similar to Gizmodo’s statement, though not entirely.
Therefore, there is truth in both theories 1 and 2. Yippee!
But hold on, so it’s all in the buyer’s hands to empower the lift user? To me that is a lot of power, because the buyer holds the key to how that person, hell, even the whole nation, functions. Okay, perhaps I’m ranting, but it seems to me that a lot of Singaporeans demonstrate a particular sort of behaviour when it comes to lifts.
Ignore all the pre-lift motions of standing together in a common area looking at the floor indicator/lift door/floor. Let’s concentrate on the behaviour in-lift.
How often have people closed doors on me a fellow stranger, I have no idea. It’s almost like the CDB was meant to keep me out of the lift. As though I had an infectious disease communicable by the air that leaves my nostrils. Worst still, I’m radioactive and I reek of death. Okay that’s stretching it.
At the end of the day, perhaps we can try to be friendlier in the lift. An acknowledging nod or a simple smile would suffice. Hold the door (ignore the CDB! Better still, remove the function altogether!). Ask which floor the other person’s going to (and not press ALL the buttons to avoid conversation).
We are in the lift together. We share that moment of being transported to our next destination. Let’s all be friends.
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