This super bowl commercial for Hyundai shows Jason Bateman operating the elevator of dread, taking a few poor souls to some horrible events such as a root canal or colonoscopy. These are all pretty anxiety-inducing, especially for people like me who can struggle with anxiety on a daily basis.
But the Hyundai marketing team left out a few cute little anxiety things that happen every day.
You don't get a root canal on a daily basis. You don't have "the talk" on a daily basis. And you don't go car shopping on a daily basis. Yet Jason Bateman runs that elevator every day. Where is he taking the same people, people like me, every single day?
1. Turning left without a green arrow.
Driving is stressful enough already, but then you want to add turning left without a green arrow? Why?
You'll go after this next car. Oh. Oh, wait. That car behind it looks to be going pretty fast so you better wait till they pass. Okay now? Oh, you didn't see those cars coming around the corner, but—ugh—you probably could've made it there. Crap, yeah, you definitely could've gone. You look in your rearview mirror. A car pulls up behind you. Crap, crap, crap. They're going to get impatient and then honk at you and that will be horrible and you'll never forget it for the rest of the week.
You inch forward a bit, so the car behind you will know you're paying attention. But you're stuck here. You're stuck in a perpetual turn lane with no possible hope for escape because fast cars keep coming around the corner and you don't want to get stuck in the middle of the intersection when the light turns again. You glance in the rearview mirror again. They aren't mad yet, but oh boy they will be.
2. Someone knocking on the door while you're using a single stall public restroom.
Shoutout to the Chipotle bathrooms.
You're taking a perfectly reasonable time in the single-stall restroom. But then there's a sharp and jarring knock on the door.
"Occupied!" you call out, a little awkwardly. More knocking. They try the door. It's locked, of course.
"Someone's in here!" you yell again. No more knocking.
Ugh, more knocking. Chill out! You're washing your hands and hear the knocking yet again. What does this person not understand? What's going on? You just want to do your business in peace.
3. Noticing the car behind you has been making the same turns you have.Giphy
(Notice the fear deep in George Michael's eyes.)
You turn right out of the parking lot. A car zooms up behind you. Their windows are completely tinted. They're tailgating pretty close to you. You speed up a bit. They speed up. You intentionally go exactly the speed limit just to spite them. You're turning off the road soon.
But then they turn the same way right behind you.
Whatever, just a coincidence.
You're still going a little under the speed limit so they can pass you if they really want to, but they don't. They have plenty of time and space to pass you, but they don't.
You turn again and they turn with you.
Okay, this is fishy. Maybe this is how it ends. You're getting close to home, and you don't want them to pull into your driveway behind you. You turn into your neighborhood.
And so do they.
Your heart is racing. You drive right past your house with the mystery tinted window car still behind you. You have frozen groceries in the trunk so you really don't have time to get kidnapped or murdered this afternoon. Eventually, the car turns into a driveway on the opposite side of the neighborhood and you carefully make your way back to your house.
4. Speaking at a work meeting.
Even if you know what you're talking about, you somehow lose all the knowledge as soon as it's your turn to talk.
Even if you planned and wrote notes the day before, you forget what they mean as soon as it's your turn to talk.
Even if you love your job and want to succeed, you lose all ambition and everything as soon as it's time to talk.
You stumble through your bit. You think you got your point across. You'll never be sure. It's quiet in the room. Is that just how it always is? Or did you screw everything up?
5. Hearing someone at your door when you're not expecting anyone.
You're hanging out at home, watching a show, drinking some tea. You've mentally prepared yourself for a quiet night in, no social interaction, just you and "Arrested Development" and some relaxation. But you hear a knock on your front door. Who could that be?
You didn't invite anyone over. Your roommates aren't home, so it's none of their friends. You didn't order anything from Amazon.
As you realize this, your stomach ties in knots. What is going on? Why is there someone at your house? Why did this have to happen when you're home alone?
You make an attempt to peek through your blinds without being obvious about it. The rest of the house is dark so you can totally pretend like no one is home as long as whoever this is doesn't see you peek out the window. You see a figure standing by the door, but still obscured from view. Who is it?
Eventually, you hear footsteps and they leave. You're still super quiet and stay in your room with the blinds shut in case they're waiting out there to see movement in the house.
The next morning, you throw out the political leaflet they left squeezed through the door.
6. Working up the nerve to join a conversation as soon as the subject changes.
A conversation is happening all around you. You're not sure if you're really in this conversation or not, but you keep nodding and reacting to things being said so as to be polite in case you are being included. But you don't want to add a question or comment because it would be rude to butt in if you aren't included in the conversation.
But they're talking about something you know, something you love. You have so much to add swimming around in your brain. Someone makes a good point. Someone asks a clueless question. Someone answers but leaves out a detail. You know that detail. It's an important detail. You decide to risk possible impoliteness and say it.
But the conversation is different now. They've moved on. There's nothing more to be said on the previous matter, even though you have so much more to say on the previous matter.
7. Receiving a text that says "call me" with no context.
"Call me when you get this," the text reads. You're not really free to call anyone now. Or ever. Talking on the phone is the worst. Just text!
Your mind goes back and forth. What if it's bad? How will you react? There's no phrase or point that you can rehearse and it might be awkward if you don't understand something that's part of an important conversation.
But the text didn't say "call immediately." So it can't be too bad. But what if it's a question you don't know the answer to, and you have to stumble through something and look dumb?
Can you just pretend you never saw the text?
Where's the nifty website to fix these anxiety-inducing situations?
Yep, Jason Bateman, I'm back at this elevator of dread once again.