I wish they’d just go ahead and replace all the doors in public places with revolving doors. Regular doors pose a dilemma of political correctness.
I was walking home the other day and I struggled to maneuver my way past some lady who was walking obnoxiously slowly on a narrow sidewalk. There was a pile of trash on the curb so it would have been very awkward to step down into the street to get past her. Doing so would have required me to either squeeze in between two parked cars or climb over the mountain of garbage. Since the cars were all parked pretty damned close together, either choice would have made me look like an idiot. Had I elected to step down into the street to get past her, I actually would have had to turn around and walk back in the direction I had come for a few dozen feet to get around the heap of garbage to actually reach some cars that I could squeeze through. That would have made it obvious I was going to some considerable length to get around her, which she may have been offended by. If not offended, then bothered at least by having it brought to her attention that she was walking so slowly that I had to inconvenience myself in such a way to get around her.
So instead I decided to veer inwards as I walked down the sidewalk, positioning myself closer to the building than to the street. This seemed to me the better way to maneuver past her since it would be a bit more discrete than climbing over or walking around the garbage heap to get past her. Furthermore, being the more discrete method, my actions would be less likely to cause her to feel uncomfortable about her slowness, since my discretion would make it appear that I was only mildly inconvenienced by her, whereas climbing over a mountain of trash might make her feel guilty about her poor walking skills.
My plan was to veer sharply to the left towards the building on that side of the sidewalk and make my move to get past her by skirting into the slight alcove where the door to the building was located and then discretely dashing outwards in front of her just in time to make it across the street. This seemed the perfect plan because it was the strategy least likely to cause her to feel self-conscious about her slowness since the way I planned to do it would probably not have made obvious the degree to which she was inconveniencing the people walking down the street behind her. However, in the unlikely event that she did notice and felt insulted or something, I could dash off across the street and she, lacking my renowned swiftness, wouldn’t have been able to make it across in time to catch up to me. If she had wanted to pursue me and scold me, she would have had to wait for the next light, since there was no way she would have made it across the street in time to cross right after me at the pace she was moving. Of course, by the time the next light would have come around, I would have been long gone.
Unfortunately for me, my plan completely backfired. Just as I was about to put my plan into action, she sharply veered left into the alcove where the door was. I thought to myself, “Oh shit! She must live in this building!” and I realised I would have to do some fancy footwork to make it look like I hadn’t been planning to enter the same alcove. I was already in motion towards the alcove though so I nearly tripped over myself. I regained my balance and saw that this slow person was actually not making a move to enter the building nor was she moving towards the intercom panel to be let into the building by someone else. She was just standing there! In the split-second I had to make my decision, I came to understand that the best option left to me was to try to dash as deeply into the alcove as possible, proceed in a curving motion around her, and then exit the alcove, emerging from it ahead of her, closer to the crosswalk that would serve as my escape route. This was a risky move, but I was by now too close to the alcove on the left side of the sidewalk for it to be possible for me to readjust my orientation towards the right side, where the garbage was, while still maintaining some level of delicacy. I had no choice.
Things didn’t turn out quite as gracefully as I had hoped. I barely made it past her, my left shoulder was right up against the wall of the building as I was making my escape. My concern was that by inadvertently ending up in a situation where I had to come into such close proximity to her, I might be mistaken for a pickpocket. Fortunately, I did, in fact, make the light and she did not.
I made it home in one piece and entered through the door in the back of the building. I entered the apartment and saw that it was past the time that the mail usually arrives, so I immediately turned around and exited the apartment again to go upstairs by the front door (remember, I live underground) to check my mailbox. To my chagrin and horror, as soon as I opened the door to the mailbox area I encountered the slow woman who had caused me such severe mental anguish only moments before.
At this point, even I, Señor Suave, felt a bit uneasy. My hope was that she wouldn’t recognise me. If she did recognise me, I knew that there was nothing I could say other than, “Sorry for my erratic walking. I was in a hurry”. Of course, the excuse “I was in a hurry” wouldn’t work in that situation since I obviously lived in the building (my mailbox key was completely visible in my hand at the time). Of course, if I lived in the building, then that would have meant that I was merely heading home when I rushed past her, so I couldn’t really have been in a hurry, could I? It felt like time had slowed to a crawl. I decided that it was best not to say anything at all. Not even a neighbourly “Hi”. After all, I had had no idea that this person even lived in my building, so why should I greet her? Unfortunately, a rare lapse occurred in my otherwise perfect foresight: after opening my mailbox and retrieving my mail, I tried to hold the door for her on my way out of the room.
What I didn’t realise was that she didn’t realise that I was holding the door. After holding the door for about four or five seconds, I realised that she was standing still reading her mail at the mailbox, instead of taking it inside and reading it in her apartment like a sane person. Her slow walking should have tipped me off that she wasn’t a normal person. Anyway, after about seven or eight seconds, I turned around and started down the stairs to my underground headquarters/apartment. Tragically, however, it was at the exact instant that I gave up on holding the door for her that she finally decided to turn around and try to walk through it! The door had swung more than halfway closed when she reached it to try to get through. It’s a heavy metal door so it closes completely in not much more than a second or two. As soon as I realised that she was making a move for the door, I tried to reach back and stop it from closing. I was too far away by this point, however, already one or two steps down the staircase to the basement in which I live. I said something like, “Oh, sorry” to which she replied, “Thanks”. I still don’t know if she recognised me or not.
So here I was trying to regain some of the reputation that I had lost as a result of my failure at walking maneuvers and for all my chivalrous effort I’m surely perceived as even more of a jackass now than I would be if I hadn’t tried to hold the door for her at all.
I fucking hate doors and door holding. If I was some dainty princess character or even a little old lady, I’d make a point out of telling people not to hold the fucking door for me.
Also, what if a man holds the door for a woman who happens to be some kind of feminist? I’m always concerned that when I hold the door for someone the person will reveal themselves to be a vocal and highly aggressive feminist and accuse me in public of being a misogynist or chauvinist or something. You can call me those names for lots of legitimate reasons if you want, but the fact that I occasionally hold the door for people (both men and women, by the way) is not one of the reasons why I think you should do so.
Revolving doors, moreover, all have a safety feature for emergencies where if you apply pressure to them in a certain way they fold up and you can dash out in case of a fire without having to break the glass. I learned that on the History Channel so it must be true.