This morning, when we were about to close our door, we heard a “ding” from the elevator which had arrived just in time — for our neighbor in room 04 (one of the 4 apartments on our floor).
My wife and I exchanged a glance briefly and tacitly agreed on a deliberate “delay” which will spare us from riding the same elevator with the 04 lady.
It’s not that we don’t like her — we actually hardly know her. Never had we exchanged a word in our past encounters, in and out of the building.
We kindly felt a need to wait for the next elevator, guessing she must have felt the same. Many people nowadays do so as a secret way to have some time alone. No one is to blame for that I guess.
But to our surprise, there she was standing in the cabin, fiddling with her cellphone with one hand, holding the open-door button with the other, waiting for us.
In a country where people almost never hold elevators for others, it was something.
We stepped in, nodded to her with a thank-you. She released the button and we were downstairs, parting again like strangers as usual, like nothing has just happened.
“When strangers start acting like neighbors, communities are reinvigorated.”
— Ralph Nader