Here are only a few of the misadventures I confront on a regular basis*:
1) The never-ending door hold
If I’m entering a door and notice a person or two following behind me in close succession, I do what most others do and hold the door open to save them a bit of time and effort. Sometimes I just keep the door pushed open until the follower reaches me and takes over for him/herself. On other occasions, I go all out and employ the full-blown stand-aside-and-let-the-other-person-go-first maneuver. If there is a steady flow of people, this latter scenario can turn into the dreaded never-ending door hold, wherein each person is followed by another, and there is no clear opportunity to exit Entryway Purgatory and actually go inside. The only alternative is to play Door God and jump in front of a hapless soul whose expectation of a sweet door handout is tragically dashed as I dart into the line. That, simply put, is a power I feel unprepared to wield.
2) The second-door betrayal
Our med school has two sets of doors in close succession in one of its main entryways. The first opens from the outside into an indoor area with stairwells to the floors above and below. The second opens into the interior of the building itself. For all intents and purposes, they function as one single entry entity. Whenever I’m crossing through this dual deathtrap – a modern-day Scylla and Charybdis – and there is someone behind me, I typically open the door twice for them in turn, both times using the more casual push move described above. However, if I decide to use the full-on opening, this results in the other person passing me and taking the lead. Now, my initial gesture came with no strings attached, but one might reasonably expect that, one good deed deserving another, the other person would repay the favor and hold the second door for me. Alas, such human decency often goes unexpressed; the other party just races ahead without throwing even a weak attempt my way. Why, traitorous two-door turncoat, must you bring your renegade ways to our hallowed medical halls?
3) The wrong-way chest bump
This is one of the more perplexing breaches of acceptable doorway etiquette. It occurs when I am innocently approaching a double door on the appropriate right-hand-side, thinking to myself, “Boo-yah, I’m about to enter the crap out of this door. Get ready, people already inside, you’re about to be more numerous by one…” Then, right as I open the door and begin my glorious entrance, some random person coming from the other direction swoops in on the same side, my side, and tries to slip past me, conceivably to avoid the unbelievably difficult ordeal of opening the door on the opposite side. Unless this door poaching is executed perfectly – and even if it is, seriously, why? – the two of us end up in an awkward situation where we have to shift quickly to avoid running into one another. I’m left feeling sad, violated, and a little bit empty inside.
*Credit goes to Jess and Luke, the resident MS-2 giant, for the inspiration for this rant. I couldn’t have done it without you two. Well, maybe I could’ve done it without Jess. Yeah, I definitely could’ve done it without Jess...