Mass of Men

The New York Times crowded elevator story--Fairway supermarket on the Upper West Side has an elevator that is slow and crowded and the only way to get your cart or stroller up to the second floor--points out that the crowded elevator is the only way the organic foods section. The photo is of an organic shopper situation: the crowds are reported to be happy, in some sense, apparently even in their surliness. Men (as well as women) massed are less desperate, and certainly less quiet in lives momentarily underlined in the seconds spent between organic and non-organic, which is very organic, even using elevator power.
But if the store is a gladiatorial arena, the elevator is, surprisingly, “a haven — an oasis of civility,” said Bernice Price, a neighborhood resident and elevator veteran. “People make a quick assessment of the spatial restrictions, and they help each other. There is a lot of silent communication. People don’t seem to push.”

Of course, even if they do push, you might make the argument that they are happier pushing than sitting in an empty parking lot. Then again, you might not.

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