Thanks to the automatic world that many of us are fortunate to live in, it’s now got to the point that when the door of a commercial residence, shop or venue doesn’t open automatically for me and welcome me with its swoosh, I am deeply saddened. Sometimes even distraught. When hospital automatic doors do this, it goes several steps further still and I’m left feeling deeply insulted as well as distraught — if not here, then where? In that very short time between anticipating and expecting the door to open on its own accord, and standing there up against the door, helpless and lost and trapped, everything I know and knew about the world around me is thrown into utter disarray, and the panic begins to take over. Is this a joke? I sometimes think, if enough of my brain is free to allow that to happen. Surely, I also sometimes think, but much more rarely, I’m not actually expected to use my own physical force to open this door like it’s bloody 1991 or something, am I? And even rarer still, because usually I just don’t have the time, and thinking in commas is tiring: well, I’m not going to, and it’s not even about hygiene and the simple fact that most people’s hands harbour potentially deadly bacteria — even though that’d be a perfectly valid reason on its own — so there. There’s so much more to it than that, stupid bloody doors…
Depending on my mood, and how things are going with my life, what happens next can be one of a number of things. If I am feeling pro-active then I might open the door without even dwelling on it too much — hey, it happens, you get on with your day and it doesn’t hardly even bother you, except for the train ride home, when you fantasize about trapping the manufacturers of such doors in a room just like in the horrific Saw series. If I am feeling desperate and disillusioned and I have time on my hands, however, then take it from me: I won’t even consider it, not without a serious fight (all this happens in a way in which you wouldn’t even notice it if you were looking in from the outside as a naive passerby). I mean…why should I? I might need that precious energy for any one of a number of much more important things. What I will do, instead, is walk backwards away from this poor-excuse-for-a-door with my arms crossed, bitter and full of hatred for the man, woman or team that designed the door in the first place. Here I will wait with diligence, with my arms crossed firmly, until someone else approaches the other side and triggers the door to open (the more common result) or physically makes it open themselves (the less common one, which is usually accompanied by staring eyes). The most I have been known to wait for is six-whole-minutes-and-twenty-seconds, but this was a rare occasion when I had experienced three sets of doors not automatically opening and I strongly felt that I had to make a stand.
Surely anyone in their right mind and a good set of automatic-door-politics would do the same.
But it’s not laziness, so if that’s what you’ve been thinking, then put that right out of your mind. You’re just wrong. According to a dictionary definition I have just found to successfully back up my claim, Laziness is: …the lack of desire to expend energy, effort or perform work. So, as you can see, it’s not laziness, it’s nothing like it. Every time I approach a door at a residence, shop or venue, I have an enormous — unwavering, even — desire to expend energy, effort or perform work. I want to get through and past that door or set of doors. I have the desire. I am a busy man — I simply must. In fact, from a human rights and sheer practical perspective, I need to, because otherwise, it’s obvious that I shall remain trapped in said residence, shop or venue forever (or, at least, until the authorities are called and someone else opens the door and removes me from the premises. At this rate, one day soon, this may have to happen).
The point is this: my right to have the door open on its own accord overwhelms anything else. And don’t even think about blaming me. I am but a product of my highly expectant generation.
The buyers of doors don’t always take all these things into account, of course. They can be cruel like that. Sometimes, they make a terrible mistake and forget about the mental health and well-being of their present and future customers, clients and visitors. That’s just the way it seems to go. The result is an entire generation of pissed-off angry people who have a right to have doors automatically opened for them, as I think I am demonstrating. It’s not much to ask, I don’t think. All I and people like me want is for doors to open as we deserve them to, as we’ve been conditioned to expect. Life is already ABSOLUTELY BLOODY FULL of effort and energy expenditure. Please don’t make us suffer any more than we have to, world.
I blame all this on the toilet in our upstairs bathroom. One of those white, space-aged newfangled things where the lid closes slowly — consistently slowly, the same time slowly — on its own accord, it may be unpopular with lovers of toilet-seat-slamming, but for people who love automatic things in general, it’s a beautiful invention that makes every trip to the toilet an experience to behold. I could watch that lid close for hours. To look forward to, even. I can’t remember what life was like before the toilet and its automatically-closing lid was installed, but I do know this much with certainty: after it was installed, life was very different indeed. As beautiful as the toilet is, its arrival poisoned and contaminated the rest of my life with a desire to have everything automatically done for me.
Now, I’m in a trap.
I don’t know how to make it all better, either. I am open to suggestions. What I want, really, is to forget about the toilet’s automatically closing lid. To forget that it had ever been invented, and to forget that the doors of shops, residences and venues don’t always have to open for me. That there was a time when all people opened them on their own accord. But I can’t, can I? Not without seriously damaging my brain and compromising my ability to do basic or more complicated things. It’s there now, and that’s tough shit.
And this is without even taking into account the plight of the half-automatically-opening-door — a real demon in any community. A tragic spectre of oddness with an intimidating level of no rhyme or reason, these can be found at various places in the United Kingdom — most notably Boots pharmacies — and defy all the things you thought you knew about automatic doors. In fact, when you really think about it, they don’t even deserve to have the title of automatic doors. Automatically-assisted-doors would be a more accurate description. How these work is anything but simple, and it seems to change every time, and have a deep and filthy desire to latch onto your mood and exacerbate the worst of it. To really drag you down. What happens is this: you approach the door and, it looking like any normal manual-opening door, push on it. Then, just as you are embracing that familiar age-old activity of opening a standard manually-opening door, the door begins to move on its own away from you. Just like that. Now, you might think that this is a good thing. Energy saving, you might decide, and all that crap. But it isn’t. Because just as you are almost fully through the door, the door begins to show signs of resistance. Of being…something else. Then you have to push with your body weight again, because the thing wants to fight you and it will not take no for an answer. Other times, in particular when you are in a mighty rush — a rush, even, where if you see someone you know and quite like speaking to, you have to invent some dramatic excuse just to get on with whatever you are doing and get away — the door will accelerate away from you with frightening speed, mimicking the power and etiquette of a standard automatically-opening door. This results in exactly what nobody wants to experience: you, hurtling forwards, often into the arms of an unsuspecting elderly pensioner — or the tampon aisle.
Like I said, I’m trapped…