#Personal Stories

Floor For Thought: What Crosses A Woman’s Mind In The Elevator

thoughts in the elevator
Thoughts in the elevator: What did you think of today when commuting between floors? For men, this magic teleportation box – alternatively known as the lift – is a mode of moving from one level to another. But for women, it is an entire experience. A battle of survival of the fittest.

Between exiting our houses and making our way through to our destinations, we run obstacle courses with the elevator as one of the major hurdles. It’s a convenient machine, no doubt. But one that comes pervaded by its own set of thorns women have to look out for. Who’s touching you, where your co-passenger is looking, what did that smirk mean? A million thoughts race through our minds. Without answers perhaps, but with plenty of floor for thought.

We Bet You’ve Had These 8 Thoughts In The Elevator:

Please please please no creepy men today!

Every woman has had this thought at some point in life. The unfortunate part is this isn’t restricted to thoughts in the lift. This is all of us ever at all times. On roads, in markets, in buses, on the internet. When trapped in a closed box that opens only intermittently, however, these fears and hopes take on new and more urgent meanings. Because where’s the escape?

Ugh! Should have taken the stairs.

Is this lift ride even worth the one hundred stresses it is giving me? The price to pay for this kind of convenience is too high, emotionally and physically, and I’m broke. Maybe I should have just climbed the stairs. No nosy people peering into your phone, no strange uncles trying to catch your eye and the added bonus of a quick exercise.

Did that aunty just judge me for literally no reason?

The world may come to a stop but desi aunties’ obsession with perusing you from top to bottom – keenly judging what you’re wearing, how your hair is, how high your heels are – will never cease. In all of two minutes during that one quick lift ride, an estimation of your character has been made. That’s some superpower.

Have you had these thoughts in the elevator?

What is my escape route if the lift stops and I’m late for my meeting?

It’s not pessimism, it’s practicality. Who would want to be stuck on a metro station elevator over-packed with people sweaty with work and toil and whatnot? What if this machine stops mid-way? Would I be able to weasel myself out between two sandwiched floors? What will I tell the boss? How will we breathe? Who will rescue us? Is this how I’ll go out? Talk about spiralling.

Can this thing go any slower?

It’s always on those days you’re in a hurry that you get the most red lights, that the printer is slowest and that the lift stops at every single floor. Where are all these people even going anyway? And does everyone have to dawdle so on the very day I’m getting late? On second thoughts, maybe I should have not hit the alarm snooze so many times. (Guilty.)

Should I cover my cleavage? Someone might be staring at me through the lift camera.

Women have become deft in the art of covertly covering any exposed body parts that may draw undue attention. We shouldn’t have to, since what we wear and how much cleavage we flash is nobody’s business. But out there in the big, bad elevator, who knows who’s watching? Men at the reception may be jeering at your breasts in the lift camera. The one beside you may be casting looks down into your shirt. There are eyes everywhere.

On that note, here’s a conversation on body shaming you must watch:

This lift light is so flattering. Would have clicked a cute mirror selfie if I was alone.

There’s nothing like a good lift light to bring out some self-love. A pouty photo here, a sassy snap there. Somehow the good people making elevators always manage to get their lighting right. But taking your phone out to click yourself while a dozen people watch you do faces is a dare only some can lay claim to. Conscious ones like me, meanwhile, can only imagine how great that selfie could have turned out.

Okay, now how to wiggle my way out of the lift without being groped?

Because our troubles don’t end with the lift ride. The final level of the game still remains to be conquered. How To Leave With Minimum Contact: The Reckoning. This last stage is one that tests your dexterity in moving through that stuffy crowd populated with men waiting for the perfect moment to reach a hand out to grope you and women deaf to your ‘excuse me’s. Once you make it out alive – ah, fresh air at long last!

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

Image Credit: Lift Boy