Thursday, September 18, 2008

David has difficulty with doors

Like several other buildings worldwide, our med center has doors. Thus, unless I want to enter the premises ninja-style through an open window or scale the formalin-scented tresses of an MS-1, I must navigate a minefield of door-related obstacles to get my daily dose of brain food. This may seem trivial to most of you but, as evidenced over and over again in this space, I am severely challenged (Kevin’s the brains; I’m just a pretty face).


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.

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*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...

16 comments:

Ben said...

Dear IDDx,
I refer you to the following video. It explores some of the more nuanced issues involved in door-holding.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=F_td1X_c5Gg

Greetings from an Australian med student. I found your emergency medicine comic particularly realistic.

K said...

I think everyone can do without jess

Julia said...

Yes... doors... they really can be especially difficult to navigate while avoiding various social faux-pas... Here is another example: Say you're out on a date with some guy, and you approach the dreaded double doors of doom. The guy maybe hurries up and gets there first to open it for you. Nice, you think, modern-day chivalry is so rare... However, then disaster strikes. The second door approaches: what do you do? You can either (1) wait for the guy to hurry around you to open the door - a move that is blatently obvious and makes you seem like a princess who cannot be bothered to open the door for herself - or (2) you emasculate the poor fellow in one deft move by holding the door for him?

And for all of those who don't see the issue, I have actually been scolded on a couple occasions by guys for "never letting them get the door for me". Maybe it is a pride thing?

D said...

Good points all, Julia, but don't think this admittedly lengthy comment frees you from the responsibility of your oft-promised guest authorship.

Funder said...

I'm left handed, and I'm willing to bet at least some of the people who do the wrong-way chest bump with you are too. There's a lot of stuff in the world that's counterintuitive if you're left handed, and doors are just one example. Left to my own devices (har har, sorry, that terrible pun just slipped out) I use my left hand to open the door on the left. And if the left-hand door magically opens, I'll just walk on through it because I'm way too busy thinking about ice cream or puppies to wonder how the hell it opened - until I crash into the hapless normal dude on the other side.

So, on behalf of your left handed absent minded colleagues - uh, sorry, and thanks, and I hope that doesn't leave a bruise!

Liz said...

Thanks for brightening up my mundane work day :p

Jesse said...

Good to see that I've worked myself into your subconscious to the point that you can't even write about doors without referencing me. However, I was all too happy to contribute to your entryway rants, having encountered all of the above situations numerous times - including Julia's fourth, which is, as you observe, a cop-out for writing a REAL article. The two-door turncoat is a personal hatred of mine, and believe me, there are LOTS of you out there in the Health Sciences area, circa 12:30pm!

However, now that the innate handism in your post has been revealed, I must say I've lost a bit of respect for you. To single out a group of unfortunate individuals simply because they're backwards and handicapped is just UP.

I know you apologize for nothing...

But perhaps this time... you really should.

...You really should.

Julia said...

The counter-point is... the "right door" situation is based on the prevailing traffic patterns in this country.

That said, I would really love to be there as you explain to the police officer that you were driving on the wrong side of the road because you are a victim of the right-handed agenda... ;)

The Dude said...

what great scenarios....this also happens to me nearly every week haha

Julie said...

This is a really random question David and it's actually directed toward all guys. Do you ever employ this so called full-blown stand-aside-and-let-the-other-person go first maneuver on guys....or for that matter, women you don't find attractive?

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