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between a roux and a bechamel

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ascending Norms

The intricacies of elevator-specific social norms are one of the first pieces of corporate life most people pick up. When it's ok to spark up banter, to push the button or request a floor, how to file out, etc. There aren't hard and fast rules, but there's certainly a general structure. There's one element of this structure that mystifies me. Just about everyone tends to abide by it, but I just can't make heads nor tails of it. Why is yawning an invitation to commentary?

I'm a pretty yawn-prone individual, especially in moments of inactivity (such as, standing still in a small, vertically moving box). Everytime a yawn creeps to the surface while I'm in the elevator, it for some reason forces my co-riders to discuss how it's too early, or too late, or too sleepy, or that time of day, or the likelihood of me having a late night, or how busy my work load is, or how much I would rather be at home in bed than in the elevator, or the effects of the weather on my slow and sleepy intake of air. What gives? If I see someone scratching their shoulder, I don't start pondering their most recent exposure to poison ivy, or discussing the merrits of moisturizing after a shower. I don't tell someone who's coughing that it's too deep and they need to see a doctor. It's not necessarily offensive to comment on my yawning, but everyone does it. I'm just a little confused. Why? Why is it so captivating to see a 24 year old less than perky as she heads to or from her office? Isn't our whole damn nation sleep deprived? Do I look particularly shocking when yawning? I just can't wrap my brain around it.
That, and the fact that while I can yawn with about 99% certainty of a subsequent discussion, I can still sneeze with only about a 50% chance of getting a "bless you" or some similar nicety. This is a very fractured observation, but I just want to know if anyone else experiences this, or has some idea of why it happens. Thoughts?


Anonymous Becky said...

Are you not covering? Maybe that's it....

In defense of your elevator friends, whenever I can't think of something to say, the phrase "I'm so tired" pops out of my mouth, even if its not necessarily applicable. Kind of like weather.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its 'cause your so purty when you yawn...

like a kitten, with that cute paw scratching its face...

people stare, and then they must say somethin.g

10:52 AM  

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