The physical fitness of Kim Berry, an introvert living in New York City, has skyrocketed as a result of walking up and down at least 67 flights of stairs every day in order to avoid feeling pressured to make small talk in elevators.
"It's not easy," said Kim of her daily climb to avoid engaging with others. "But it's worth it."
As Kim explained it, privacy is hard to come by at her open-office workplace - and not only that, the owners of the company's skyscraper office building encourage a collaborative work environment, meaning that, in elevators, Kim often found herself forced to smile and converse with people from different departments. In fact, she said, people were so aggressively friendly that they blatantly ignored her signature headphones.
"If anything, people seemed to take them as a challenge," said Kim. "They were useless as a deterrent."
For these reasons, it quickly became clear to Kim that, in order to keep her social interaction within bearable levels, she would need to start taking some rather drastic steps - 990 of them, to be exact.
"Nearly two thousand if I go out for lunch," she said. "Which I've been doing lately."
Fortunately for Kim, the stairwell trick has worked like a charm for preserving her isolation. Only once in the four years that she's worked in the building has she ever encountered another person - a maintenance worker - in the stairwell.
"Privacy isn't dead after all," she said. "It's alive and well in every public staircase around the country."
Still, while the benefits to her cardiovascular system have been tremendous, and she's even lost 12 pounds, Kim says they pale in comparison to the boost in happiness and and serenity she's gained through finding yet another way to be alone.
"I think this is what they mean by being in flow," she said. "I'm grateful."