By: Danielle Barnes-Smith
I never learned how to ride an elevator.
Now don’t judge, just listen.
You have to understand where I come from. Eureka, Montana. Go ahead, Google it. You’ll discover that the name Eureka (Greek for “I found it”) is meant to be ironic considering how few people have found themselves living there. But one of the characters in The Host is from Eureka, MT, so what does your town have?
Our town was once know as the Christmas Tree capital of the United States. Once. Now it’s all Border. And it is small. There are no elevators. Correction, there is one elevator. In the clinic. I don’t know if it’s ever been used. But when it went up in 2007 (guesstimation), it caused an upset. It was believe that Eureka was Modernizing at a rate equatable to China (I’m taking a Chinese history class, so I know that that is very quickly).
Having grown up in a town without elevators, I had few opportunities to use such a contraption. Also, I am generally anti-elevator unless carrying luggage. So, other than when at a hotel, I hardly ever ride elevators. I have been able to avoid them.
But not in the Boole Library.
In the Boole Library, the stairs are hidden. I saw them once in a dream, but I can’t find them in real life. And so I have to ride the elevator. And I don’t know the etiquette.
Often I find myself waiting for the elevator to arrive to the second floor (which would be the third floor in the States). As soon as the elevator dings and opens, one person will appear from the rafters and get on. Now I don’t want to get on with one person. It’s weird and unnatural to ride in a small box with a stranger. It’s not because I distrust them. It’s just because. So then I hesitate. Well you can’t get on once you’ve hesitated. They’ll wonder, “Why did that girl just hesitate? What does she have to hesitate about?” So, naturally, you have to put on an expression that says, “Oh, I don’t need to leave this floor. I can live here,” and walk away. This, unfortunately, leads to me being trapped on the second/third floor. Once, when I finally got on the elevator, someone got on after me. I once saw in a TV show that you’re suppose to watch the numbers above the door. So I fixed my gaze there. There were no numbers. The numbers were on the side. But I was committed to staring at the perfectly blank space until the elevator stopped. When the elevator stopped, I realized I knew the person I was on the elevator with. So, to the guy in my Shakespeare class who is also in the Dramat society where we talked that one time, I’m not really that rude.
I just don’t know how to ride an elevator.
Which brings me to my point (yes, this was all leading to something).
Studying abroad is this very peculiar thing for many reasons. It’s a little strange to be like “hey, I’m almost done with
school, I think I’ll move for a year,” but it has it’s benefits. Sure, you learn more about another culture/country/way of thinking, but you also learn more about yourself. Most people study abroad their junior year, and good thing, because that’s the year you fool yourself into thinking your ready for the looming “real-life.” Studying abroad makes you vulnerable again. And it isn’t always just being in another country. For me, studying abroad has put me in a place where I can no longer avoid the elevators in my life.
So if you’re considering studying/volunteering/working abroad, I suggest it. Highly. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be googling elevator etiquette.
Check out this link for fun Irish sayings! Top 50 Irish Sayings
Also, here is a picture of roses from my husband in a Guinness glass that may or may not have been taking from a nearby pub.