There’s never enough of it until there’s too much.
I entered our office building, went up a half staircase to the second floor, and rounded the corner to the elevator lobby to find people backed into the corridor.
It’s a small lobby, with four elevators, reached by two corridors, one to the cafeteria. Five people had stopped at its entryway, as if so respectful of each other’s personal space they queued out into the corridor. I stepped through and walked to the empty far side, intending to wait for the elevator and hold the door so everyone could get on, when I noticed a small detail — no one had actually pushed a button calling for an elevator.
So I stepped over and hit the up button, and got a few sheepish looks as those most cognizant of the impending workday and life around them realized they’d all just assumed. And of course when the elevator came it was packed, and a person in the back wanted to get out to go to the cafeteria, so they all did the dodge and shuffle, and meanwhile the seven or so of us now in the lobby are doing our accompanying polite shuffles to let the person out, and I’m at the back, just because I can be as courteous as the next guy, when I put my mind to it.
Only the elevator, of course, doesn’t know how polite we all are, it’s on a timer. And my prospective levitators are still shuffling obligingly and getting out of the way as the riders onboard are making room, which no one is taking, because none of us are space invaders, thank you very much.
And I know the flipping door is about to close, with eight or nine of us now on the outside, and space for two or three now in the sardinating space of the cabin. I never think of the right thing to say until it’s too late, but I’m still reasonably nimble for a guy born during the Eisenhower administration, so courtesy be damned, I took three quick steps forward and darted in as the doors began to close.
And it didn’t occur to me, until I was probably elevating past the third floor, what I should have called out to the those still assembled in the lobby, as they mused on how far they yet remained from their desks: “And don’t forget to push the button!”
But I never think of these things in time — and if there is enough time, it’s the type of thing that gets me a reputation for wise-cracking, anyway.