Monday, August 20, 2012

On the Anthropology of Elevators

[TippyTop S#cr#t//  Handle via EL(evator)INT channels only ]

Military theorists have, since ancient times, considered the special range of tactical conditions afforded by such close-quarters theatres as the elevator.  Who can forget what Clausewitz said, in his classic Vom Aufzugskriege, answering the objections of Napoleon to the original exposition of Sun Tzu?  Since no-one could forget that, I need not remind you.

And thus it was with the wily Prussian analyst’s strictures well in mind that, pushing the “down” button on the sixth floor of 2B, I heard the double-ding of an arriving elevator and (well-schooled in European etiquette) bowed slightly to allow the one other expectant passenger, a young woman of indeterminate description, to precede me into the Hurt Locker or so-called “battle box”.

Although my fellow passenger herself   seemed to represent no immediate threat, being rather scrawny about the wrists and ankles, you never know who might get on at intervening floors.  Accordingly, I immediately adopted my invariable stance, standing in a far corner, and facing outward along the diagonal:  thus affording an ideal field of vantage, and limiting the range of possible angles of attack to a mere ninety degrees, as against 180 for a median spot along a wall, or a full 360 (you are doomed to die) in the deadly center.   This system has worked perfectly for me;  in all my years at the Fort, I have never suffered a successful elevator attack.

Quite other was the strategy of my lift-mate.  She too retired to a corner -- cattycorner to my own -- yet, incredibly, unaccountably, faced towards the wall!!!  This we might dub the Ostrich Strategy, familiar from children who, closing their eyes, chant “You - Can’t  - See me!”   Such a stance might provide a certain psychological comfort to the cortically challenged, but militarily  it’s a non-starter.  Anyone -- well, not I, being a gentleman, but, some bounder, someone really ill-bred -- might easily seize the tactical advantage thus afforded, and commit some outrage upon her person, involving ogling and groping  and uncalled-for insertions  or who-knows what-all-else.

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For further insight into the sociodynamics of elevators, click here:

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