Standing in the elevator. The doors open on the 3rd floor. She steps in.
Quiet. A bit on the dowdy side. No eye contact.
"Going down?" I asked.
She just nods.
So I press the first floor button. Press. Press. Pressy press press, just to make sure that the elevator and my co-passenger know that the first floor has been requested.
The elevator slowly begins to descend.
It's only a 40 second ride, but the silence in the cab is incredible and makes the air sit heavily on my shoulders.
I know there's another human being in there with me. I know because we communicated only moments ago.
However, we are both pretending that the other is not there. We just sort of stand there in the silence, careful not to acknowledge that the other one exists, looking up at the numbers of the floors as if they were to spell out what fate has planned for us.
That's when I scream out, "Damn my left nipple just won't stop itching. Must be this old bra I've got on. Probably needs to be laundered. Dust mites and nipples are just a recipe for disaster is what my Mamma always says."
The elevator seems to stop. The girl's shoulders become rigid.
"But God knows how I hate to do laundry. In fact, I'm wearing the bottoms to my bathing suit today because I just don't have any clean panties left. But Lord knows I'm not going to be doing my laundry tonight. My programs are gonna be on. Gotta watch those programs you know. Gotta watch them. Real thrilling stuff. Real thrilling."
The elevator doors slowly open. The girl quickly squeezes herself out before they have a chance to close again and keep her captive with me.
God, how I wish this really happened. Sometimes I think that a conversation about bras, nipples, dust mites and laundry would be so much more comfortable than sitting with another human being, silent, pretending that you didn't even notice that there's another being breathing the oxygen around you.
Elevators breed apathy for our species.