Thursday, March 31, 2016
Just when I feel the doors (of Life, that is) starting to close, people have started opening them for me--all sorts of people: little kids, other guys, women. All ages, really. Mom and Dad had taught me to hold doors open for others, but it had rarely happened to me. Until recently.
Not counting, of course, those times when someone just keeps it open for you after passing through before you.
Which leads me to a sad but educative memory. Dallas, Texas. 1950s. Mom, who'd begun her teaching career, took us to Dallas for a Y-Teen conference (she was head of the Y-Teens at Emerson Junior High School; Enid, Okla.; I've commented before about how Enid named its two junior highs for Emerson and Longfellow ... those were the days, eh?). And it was in Dallas that I met my first revolving door.
Rather, it met me. I didn't quite "get" how it worked, and my older brother was delighted when it delivered to a little puzzled Sooner boy a sharp knock on the head. (It's called One-Trial Learning--like when you touch a hot surface or play with an electrical outlet.) Now, I'm very graceful with revolving doors, though I've noticed they're much bigger these days--and slower. Almost leisurely. (Did too many little kids get knocks on the bean while Big Brother laughed?) There's even one at Seidman Cancer Center, where I have to go all too often. (At least I've had no door problems there!)
Anyway, I must look aged now (if not venerable) because people wait for me to approach, then hold the door for me.
This is nice and not nice.
Nice: It's thoughtful.
Not Nice: It's not thoughtful.
By the latter, I mean that the act--as intentionally kind as it is--is a very patent reminder of my age, if not my status. Sure, it's nice that you did it, but--dammit!--I can open my own damn door!
I never really thought about that during my own door-holding days (days, I should say, that have not ended). I just held/hold the doors, as per parental instructions. Most people thanked me. But a few, I now realize, must have been thinking Dammit! And I've noticed, too, that there are some younger women who don't appear to care for the--what?--sexism? paternalism? chauvinism? patronization?--of the act.
And now 'tis I thanking people. But a question occurred to me yesterday at the health club, where there are two doors at the entrance. Door 1: the main entry. Door 2 (about 10 feet ahead): another door for the weather--so that Ohio Winter doesn't roar in and take over.
So here's the question: If someone holds both doors for you, do they get two thank-yous? Or does one suffice for the two? I usually thank both times, though my volume on #2 is generally considerably less than it is on #1.
Oh, the questions I never believed I'd ever ask ...!