Face it. You've had one of those weeks, one of those days, or one of those mornings. You don't want to talk to people. It's OK, that makes you human... Sometimes people aren't the best choice to hang out with.
But don't start the day avoiding the faces you know (if not love) by evading elevator time with others at work. Here's a chronology I got one morning recently in the walk from the parking lot to the building, then to the elevator. Bad karma. Check and see if this is anyone you know:
1. I park. Jim (not the real name) has already parked and is 20 seconds ahead of me walking up to the building from another area of the parking lot. Jim looks intense/troubled/slightly anti-social in his body language.
2. As I am walking up to the building, I don't give it the old "Hi Jim!" from 30 yards out since he looks peeved. My first thought - "Let's give Jim some space and not do the fake pleasantries". After all, he'll have to force some small talk out in the elevator (we're on the 2nd and 4th floor of our building) in close quarters. I don't want him to peak too soon, because nothing's worse than uncomfortable silence in the elevator. I'm all about taking care of Jim at this point.
3. Jim sees me out of the corner of his eye and decides to turn the corner to the building doors without saying "Hi Kris!". That's cool - he's probably doing me the solid of allowing me to save my best stuff for the elevator as well. Nice. What am I going to ring up with him in the elevator? Weather? Kids? Red Sox? Who knows - I'll figure it out in the next 40 yards. I'm best under pressure...
4. Jim enters the building. Through the glass windows as I walk up, I see Jim punch the button for the elevator, then get really close to the doors to make it come quicker. Can an elevator be willed to come sooner than the national average? Some would say no, Jim says "yes". A battle of wills ensues as I make my way to the doors. At stake? Jim's ability to ride the trolley up solo, without having to deal with me being all chipper and engaging.
5. I come through the doors. I can't see Jim at the elevators since he's locked in the battle of wills, but suffice it to say there's only a 5% probability he's riding the box without me on his shoulder, making small talk. I've decided to talk about the new Batman movie, just to take Jim's heart rate up a few. Always thinking about wellness and aerobic health.
6. I turn the corner and NEWMAN!! No Jim. Up button to the elevator still illuminated, with Jim nowhere to be found. I hear the door to the stairs slam shut. Jim decided that climbing the stairs is better than making small talk. That's 60 small steps for Jim, hopefully a lifestyle change for mankind and wellness.
Could it have been me? Surely not. Well, maybe. More than likely, Jim didn't want to make small talk with anyone, especially those voted most likely to tweak him on topics where his views are polarized and he's easily agitated.
So, here's my new parking lot/elevator rule for decency. No eye contact or small talk required when separated by more than 20 yards in the parking lot, however, you have to the take the elevator when you've been spotted.
Especially when you've already pushed the button. Have you no shame? Do I have to send the guys from a martial arts movie, pictured in the elevator photo above, to straighten this out?
But as I make the rule, I give the olive branch - Dude, we've all been there.. Honk if you've ever avoided human interaction at work...