I don't know what it is about elevators that makes uncomfortable silence ever so painfully and awkwardly more uncomfortable. Maybe it's the small space and stark walls or the buttons or the fact that everyone inside the elevator has somewhere to go, someone to see, something to do.
So I'm rushing into the elevator this morning, half awake and in need of coffee or hot tea or SOMETHING to warm me up. I aimlessly press the button to my floor and the doors are closing and I lean against the wall when a foot flies in between the closing doors. I'm startled and I jump back before I realize that the foot belongs to a person. In an attempt to open the doors I press the "Call" button instead of the "Door Open" button. I correct myself and the doors do open and a very cute man with a nice smile comes in.
I apologize breathlessly, and straighten up. He smiles and says it is okay and we begin our excruciatingly silent ride to our floors. I was wishing I had opted for something other than the "Harsh, Uptight Woman" hairdo I had selected when my hair would cooperate this morning (deep part to one side, hair pulled into a tight bun low on the back of my head and bangs and flyaways pinned to the side by my ears).
I wanted to introduce myself or to flirt, but the silence was so deafening that I couldn't break it. You could have heard a pin drop over the mechanical groans of the equipment as it pulled us through the elevator shaft. We each looked away. He stared at the ceiling and I studied the polished siding of the wall.
You see in movies and television shows where two people meet in an elevator and then make excuses to ride to the wrong floor. But it was idealistic to think that I could flirt with anyone before my morning coffee, when I'm still half asleep and have driven to work on autopilot. I often wonder if I miss opportunities to meet people because I suddenly become shy and awkward and my confidence flows out of my body. I daydreamed during the short elevator trip that he'd crossed the elevator car and introduced himself, with his nice eyes and good smile.