Elevators are pretty useful things. I'm glad they exist because I work on the 9th floor. I have taken the stairs before and I am mightily out of breath and a bit sweaty by the top. There are a few things I hate about elevators though. Another to add to the list is being in them with strangers. It is SO awkward. Whether you chat about the weather, stare at the wall, or pretend to read email on your phone, riding for any length of time with a stranger is uncomfortable. Think about it. You're basically locked in a tiny box with someone else who may have had Mexican for lunch, or who takes a phone call and discusses their new rash that appeared that morning. Perhaps even worse that riding with strangers is riding with someone who you know just a little. Then you need to fake a conversation with them until one of you gets to your floor.
I remember a long time ago, back when everyone's email addresses ended "@aol.com" an email went around with funny things you can do in elevators. They included things like bringing a chair and sitting in the elevator reading a book or smiling widely at everyone and proclaiming, "I'm wearing new socks!" Sometimes when I'm in one of these awkward moments I remember this email and wonder if that would help break the tension.