Elevators are awkward. You are forced into a small confined space with people you don’t know. And only for a short time. Do you strike up a conversation with someone who might only be on the elevator for a couple of floors? In Sweden the answer is, of course, no. Never strike up a conversation with someone on the elevator. In fact, if at all possible end all conversations and stare at the floor numbers moving by in complete silence. Of course, there are some other rules for elevators that should always be followed to avoid any more unnecessary awkwardness.
Keep your boobs in your shirt is a good one for example. You might think it strange that I mention this rule but a few months back I was on the elevator with a girl whose boob was hanging out. The whole time. It was really one of the more hilarious/awkward moments of my life. Feel free to relive the moment with me here: A Strange Morning with Swedish Boobs.
But just the other day I had another elevator adventure. And one that reminded me of some additional elevator etiquette. That being, don’t fart. Especially if they stink.
Now let me set the scene. I am a pretty big guy. About 6 foot 3 inches tall, 190 pounds. Relatively broad shoulders compared to the average Swede. And the elevator I found myself in was small. Width–wise there would have been no way to fit more than one and a half of me. My shoulders nearly touched both sides of the elevator. But it was a long elevator. So you could stack people in. And so it was that three other people crammed into the elevator. One girl obviously by herself, and two guys about my age who got on together. They had been having a lively conversation which died the second they crossed the threshold of the elevator (please see the first paragraph of this post for rule number one).
Anyway, we are now riding on the elevator in complete silence. And someone cracks one off. And by someone I mean the guy closest to me. Because I heard it. And smelled it. Now, in general I find farts to be hilarious. I know. I’m 24. They shouldn’t be funny anymore. But they are. But even I have some recognition of time and place when it comes to ripping ass. And the elevator is neither the place nor the time. But this guy didn’t care. Or maybe he was just trying to sneak it out hoping it wouldn’t make any noise. Hoping it wouldn’t stink. We’ve all been in that situation. Sneak one out and it gives a little pfft and makes a bit of a smell. Oops. It happens.
And here’s the thing. It’s embarrassing. But everyone does it. And instead of excusing himself, or maybe even laughing it off, maybe joking with his buddy about it, he said nothing. The silence continued. As did the smell of poop. And all I could do was smile and shake my head. Mostly because I was trying to get that smell out of my nostrils…
Welcome to Sweden.