I constantly say things in the elevator that label me as consistently incapable of social interaction.
One time I told a gentleman and a lady that their shirts matched. They both muttered and avoided eye contact. I tried to help the situation by talking about the weather. It didn't work. Another time, I told a stranger I'd seen him arrive in the parking lot earlier that day, and noticed he was from Colorado. I thought I was trying to be friendly. He looked at me like I'd asked for his wallet.
Another time, I had a Wall Street Journal under my arm when I saw my boss's boss's boss. He made a comment about how I was smart to read it, and I said, "Oh, I just pretend." He answered, "It's okay, if there's any good month to invest it's this month."
And I had nothing to say.
So, I got off the elevator and did that thing where you just kinda say words and hope they make sense. "Oh yeah, that's what they're saying." I don't know who's saying it though, because I don't really know anything about investing.
Another time, after a particularly busy week, I got on the elevator and said to the gentleman I stepped on with, "We made it to Friday—with some dignity, some poise, and a whole lot of desperation." I said it as soon as the doors closed, and he was silent ALL THE WAY UP TO MY FLOOR at which point he responded with that noise people make when they're agreeing, and he said, "You said it absolutely right."
My insecurity had a heyday.
Other things I've said about elevators (I'm quoting myself in messages I sent to a friend):
"i had to wait for the elevator for like 8 minutes and when it finally came it was full of people. My worst nightmare."
"The elevator stopped on every floor. I could have walked faster."
"But I have to wait for those people to get on the elevator before I go out there I so don't have to ride with them. I just heard it beep. Any moment now." (I have apparently said this multiple times)
"This is about as awkward as a full elevator."
"I’ll come down on the next elevator. Two people are coming down on this one and leaving with them would mean social interaction."
You get the picture. It's not that I don't like people—I love people. I just can't function in elevators. My parents always tried to teach me to think before I speak. It worked so well that I often can't think of things to say in normal situations because I'm thinking so hard.
But when I get in the elevator all constraints fall aside and I'm just muttering and beet red.
The redeeming part of the story is other people. They are gracious and kind even when they don't know the turmoil in my introverted soul (or maybe it's because they know it). Another redemption is the people I tell the stories to afterward, who listen and laugh and reassure me that my social career is not quite ending yet.
And the best redemption is that it gives me something to write about—which is great for me, and a bummer for everyone else in my life who will probably end up in a story someday.