Monday, May 25, 2009

Elevator man

Now that you all know that I'm a Danny Elfman fan, as well as an Oingo Boingo enthusiast by the title of this post, let’s write about elevator etiquette, shall we?


While staying at the Ritz in DC with my Mother, I had the pleasure of observing the atrocious manners of some, and the immaculate manners of others (se la vie).  One day in particular comes to mind.  My mother has had both of her hips replaced and although she is amazing and resilient, she can only do so much, go so fast, and still must use a cane to walk (it's only been three months).  We were waiting by the four (yes four) elevators that led to our rooms and she and I were the only ones waiting.  Very abruptly, a family came racing to the elevators (two parents, two children maybe 13 and 10).  The button had already been pressed, so we all stood there waiting for the elevator to open.  When the elevator door just behind the family opened,  they quickly shuffled in and did not bother to move to the back therefore leaving no room for my mother.  I stared at the father until the door began to close, and as it did, he looked right at me.  He  must have been unconscious to not recognize that 1. there was a handicapped woman standing there before him; 2. that he didn't make room for her; and 3. that he made no apologies.  I was outraged!  I don't become outraged very often, but this was my mother we're talking about.  She patiently stood there until another elevator opened, by which time another gentleman (yes, a gentleman) let us into the elevator first.  I complimented him on his graciousness and good manners. My faith in humanity was restored.  


Coming down from our room we got into the elevator with a lovely young couple.  I didn't have the pleasure of being introduced to his wife, but his name was Tony.  As we stepped in, we made small talk, and as the elevator stopped, Tony let my mother and I exit first- Thank you thank you!  We had just about had it with elevator drama on our trip and Tony and his wife came to the rescue.  I actually embarrassed myself by running after him to give him my card and told him I'd be writing about this, and so I have. 



My sweet sister-in-law-to-be was apologizing for people in her town and their lack of manners as she witnessed some of the same etiquette breaches that I did over the weekend; but this was not a commentary on her town (which was lovely as was her family);  It is a commentary on our society "me first, all about me, fabulous me" but what about others?  What about opening a door just because?  What about a smile just to smile?  What about lowering your voice as you use obscenities to describe something? What happened to caring about those around us as much as we care about ourselves?  I have faith that humanity is good, alive and well; just not thriving in some places as much as others.  As my travels have taken me different places, I have found that each place has a distinct feel.  This place had the feeling of busyness in one’s own life  (I’m too busy with myself to let a handicapped person on the elevator first).   Although I know that many people in the hotel were visiting from various locations, I saw things in local stores and other local public places that led me to this judgement.


 I must say that the staff at the Ritz was everything it is supposed to be-gracious, caring, attentive, polite, and generous.  I want to thank them for helping to make our trip a memorable one.  I also want to thank everyone with whom we had the opportunity to interact-whether they made it pleasant for us or gave me material to write about.


20 comments:

Jennifer said...

Janine-

I've always been interested in etiquette, and was pleased to stumble on your blog a few months back.

I've tried to ignore this, but unfortunately, I can't do so anymore--your egregious spelling/grammatical errors are, to my eyes, just as bad as having bridal shower guests self-address their own thank-you cards.

So I'm choosing to unsubscribe. I know this may make me seem like a jerk, but there's a disconnect here. I can't take someone seriously in this realm if they can't take the time to learn English properly.

If you agree, and want to address to problem, please consider asking someone to take a quick look over your blog-posts before they go up, or even hiring an editor. You'd do the same for a custom-printed wedding invite or a Christmas update letter, wouldn't you?

Janine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janine said...

I appreciate that you have the time to go through my posts and find grammatical errors as well as the spelling errors that my spell check (which is not perfect) didn't happen to catch. Since The Pink Teapot is a blog and not a website, it was never intended to be professional. I have never gained profit of any kind, I have had no formal etiquette training (of which I make all my readers well aware), and I am the first to apologize for my shortcomings.

My grammar will never be perfect. My spelling may never be perfect (unless spell check becomes a little more sophisticated) and I may not have the time necessary to edit my posts as I would like because my main dedication is to my family, first and always.



So while I appreciate all forms of communication on this blog as they may help me improve, in the future, should you have a truly constructive criticism, email it to me instead of leaving it with a name only in a comment box.



Good luck in your endeavors and I hope you find another etiquette source that meets your criteria. To avoid offending you in the future, I might suggest that you purchase a professionally edited book.

Janine

Woman Interrupted said...

I guess you see the same kind of behavior in elevators that you see when driving. "Me first cutting in, you can miss this light for my benefit because my time is more important..." Sprinkled with the occasional polite few.

fmcgmccllc said...

Just found your blog, I like it.

I always worry on my blog about how a college professor would grade me, but you know I write for me and hope that maybe somebody that might read it would smile.

Write to make yourself happy. If you want me to be uncouth and take care of that cretin in the elevator, just call my day job is customer support in auto plants. Now that's a subject on manners.

pendy said...

First, Jennifer needs to get a life. She can use correct grammar on her blog.

Second, why won't people let you off an elevator (bus, anything) before they run you over gettin on? Never have figured that one out.

Third, I'm all about some good manners and enjoy your blog...so just keep doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, you are just one of those mean girl haters! Janine has done an excellent job on all of her posts and she actually talks about subjects that are real. I feel that the way she talks is how she would probablly talk in real life. She sounds like someone that would be a great friend! She is right, that it is a blog, not a professional website. Really, I think you are jealous of her talents. I doubt by the sound of your comment that you are a person worth knowing. So good luck, please unsubscribe so the rest of us, that enjoy the blog, can do so without hearing from the likes of you!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janine said...

By the way, I deleted the last comment because it was a duplicate.

Chablis said...

Whoa, Jennifer needs a few lessons on ettiquette. I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. Silliness.

Elevator ettiquette has always been a big mystery to me, and I think a lot of people. Thanks for the tips!

Garr and Jennie said...

Janine, I am very careful with what I write in e-mails, online chats, etc. I make sure I spell correctly and use grammar to the best of my knowledge. It's also very important to me that people take time to spell names correctly. However, I have never once had a problem reading your blog! I love it, I refer my friends to it, I learn from it and I am inspired by it. You are right that your family comes first and most people are happy to read what you write, regardless of any minute errors your blog may contain.

Now, about the post, when I am with my mom and a man walks through a door to a public place and neglects to hold it open for us, she always sarcastically says, "Thank you!". I am teaching my boys to hold the door open for others, and all of my children to watch out for the elderly or disabled and to put them first.

Nicol said...

I would like to add with the elevators that you should always let the exiting passengers off first before trying to board. I see this so much now and is simply rude to push your way through while people are getting off.

Janine said...

Nicol- How right you are my dear! I agree that we should all step back and allow those who are getting off to exit the elevator before trying to enter it. It's like someone has won the lottery when the elevator door opens. 'There's never going to be another chance, this is it for me, it's do or die!' How comical it is really, especially for the every day person who does not have a disability that requires them to limit their time on their feet. I guess unless we're ready to put on our gladiator armor, we just have to sit back and laugh at the people who think they are in such a hurry to make it to the second floor of the mall...hello? Have you seen the escalator? Well said Nicol, thank you.

Jennifer and Jason Young said...

I just love your mom and I am so sad to hear that people treated her in a much less deserving manner. Thanks to Jennifer for colorfully displaying another form of bad etiquette. I must say I definitely have been guilty of thinking of myself first lately as I am extremely uncomfortable with child and not as kind and patient as I should be. I have been crazy grouchy to my husband in public. Thank heavens there are good reminders like your blog to be better well behaved. I just adore your spin on etiquette. I would rather be a bad speller with a kind heart than the reverse any day!

Anonymous said...

Dear Janine, You have such a great heart and are such a dear person. It angers me to see someone like Jennifer leave such a hateful comment. In my opinion it is unfounded. It must be wonderful to be her.....Like Goldie Haan said in the movie "Overboard", "Everyone wants to be me". I think Jennifer has adopted this attitude and it's rude and very unbecoming. Good riddance to her if she has unsubscribed....who wants to read her comments anyway. Keep up the good work and don't let toxic people like her get you down. We all need little reminders of good taste and you provide that to all of us.

Alissa said...

Janine,
Instead of being your lurking sister-in-law-to-be, I'll finally comment. :) First, I'm sure it was a culture shock for you to see such outright rudeness so many times that weekend. It still shocks me to go home and deal with a general feeling of unfriendliness and a lack of awareness for others, and I find myself feeling more self-centered and grumpy when I interact with others like that in my hometown. Then I remember where I live now, only 2 hours away but in the same state, and I can remember that all towns are not the same!

Second, it is unfortunate that someone can't look past trivial grammatical errors on a personal blog, and what's worse is that she had to post on your comment board instead of just making the choice to stop reading. As a world history and special education teacher, I read a LOT of not-so-great writing from 9th graders. When we create an assignment and I grade it, I can't lower a student's grade for grammar and spelling errors if they answer the history question and fulfill the objective of the assignment. You are sharing your thoughts and knowledge about etiquette, and it would be stupid for me to judge you based on your blog design, font, grammar, etc., especially if the content is beneficial. Not only that, but this blog is a personal activity of yours that isn't published, edited, or otherwise managed. I'm a teacher and I mess up. A lot. And the thing the kids appreciate the most is when I openly tell them that while I'm the teacher, I'm still learning, too. You're an etiquette advisor, and you never hesitate to tell your readers that you're human, just like the rest of us, and sometimes mistakes happen!

Keep up the good work :)

Christy said...

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who gets angry over this type of rudeness. I go out of my way to assist anyone with disabilities. I also get very annoyed at those people who don't hold open doors for parents with baby strollers. Recently, I saw a a young man actually let a door close on a stroller...he turned around and looked right at the lady, then just let the door go! What is wrong with some people?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Sounds like Jennifer has some mental health issues that need to be dealt with. Honestly who has the time to go through someone's blog and proofread it. I almost wish I had the time to find Jennifer's blog and tell her how many comma's or incorrect spellings she had! Janine, I'm sorry that you had to deal with such an unhappy, yucky person. But your comment was tactful which is more than Jennifer can say!

Janine said...

Did I ever tell you ladies that "Tony"- The gentleman from the elevator at the Ritz found me on Facebook just to make good on his promise? I thought that was honorable.

The Apronista said...

I have made a point as well to teach my boys the etiquette I was taught as a child - opening doors for others, saying thank you, please, excuse me, etc...it makes me sad that there has been so little effort made by some parents to teach these things as well. It's sad that my kids are becoming the exception rather than the rule.

 
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