Common Courtesy vs Strategy vs None of the Above

You arrive at the elevator bank at work. Several others are already waiting. It’s one of those banks with 3 or 4 doors on each side and call buttons placed in the middle of each wall.

An elevator arrives near you as you approach. You know you’ll be getting off soon since your floor is near the bottom of the bank. Do you wait and let a few of the others on first, or scramble to get on as quickly as you can?

Some people might wait because regardless of where the elevator is, it’s courteous thing to do.

Others might wait because if they get on first they’ll just have to ask everyone else to move when the elevator gets to their floor.

Some might wait for both reasons. Not forcing everyone to get out of your way is like the courtesy you display when you wait your turn.

Others would just plow on and then force everyone off two floors later. I share an elevator system with many of these folks.

Tom Wolfe is good at writing that last set of characters. He can write the guy that rushes to get on first without looking up from his phone and stabbing coworkers with his half-open golf umbrella. A few pages later, he might even make you feel for the guy.

That’s good writing.

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