Being in an elevator with a bunch of strangers is already awkward enough. You’re confined to a small space and if you are on the top floor you have to make a stop each time to let more and more people off. You also have to watch people get on the elevator to go up one floor when they easily could’ve walked up the stairs and get there faster.
Today, I experienced my first instance of what I call “Elevator Bullying.” Unless I’m doing something after work, I typically just arrive without a jacket since I’m indoors the entire day. And whatever, I keep a hoodie and a blanket at my desk if I’m ever cold. Normal, okay? So when I arrived this morning to the parking garage walking towards the elevator and wearing my sleeveless blouse, I get called out by a random woman who asks me where my jacket is followed by a series of questions and comments about herself.
“Aren’t you freezing?” “I always wear a jacket even in the parking garage.” “Are you really not cold?”
Lady, there’s a heater in my car. Can you relax?
While we’re waiting for the elevator, two more of her co-workers join us and continue to berrate me.
“Where’s your jacket? “Do you know how cold it is out there?” “I’m wearing my long coat right now and I’m still freezing.”
Jesus christ, sir, I came from Seattle. This is California; it’s not that cold, okay?
At this point, I’m just dying to get off on my floor, but instead we go up to level 1 where a fourth co-worker joins us and good god – he’s wearing a puffer jacket (to make my situation even worse.) The guy already in the elevator with me goes, “See! This is appropriate attire for the weather we’re having.” They all chuckle to themselves and puffer jacket has no idea what’s going on so they tell him, “It’s okay, we’ll tell you later” because after they get off the elevator, they’re going to continue talking about me – the girl who showed up to her office without a jacket.
First off, I’m an adult. We aren’t co-workers and you don’t know me. You don’t get to talk to me like that. I can wear whatever I want. I wish in that moment that I would have been brave enough or quick enough to stand up for myself, but I know myself, and sometimes I don’t do well in situations like that and shrink to the back of the elevator embarassed. I realized though that it ended up bothering me all day because going to work and dressing the way that I do makes me feel happy and in this quick moment, a bunch of strangers had wanted to tear me down for something that had no relation to their life, but because they wanted to feel better about themselves – being older than me, being…I don’t know wiser than me and conscious about the temperature outside.
So readers, I’m telling you this story because it can be so quick to judge other people whether it’s in the elevator or out in public (yes, I’m guilty of this too,) but don’t think for a second that you know someone’s situation or anything about them. Just keep your comments to yourself, k? Adults are bullies too and you don’t want to be one of them. Ugh. Wednesdays, man.