I was a far distance from the heavy ass door. I know the door is heavy because I have been using it ten times a week for two years. It is surprisingly heavy. If a person in front of you doesn’t hold it open for you, it takes a very strong push to counteract its closing. I have to use two hands to counteract its closing; I know because people frequently don’t hold it open for others behind them, which wouldn’t be a huge deal if the reason wasn’t due an overly imaginary fear of microbes, but it’s a solid heavy ass door. You really gotta bear the force of it when it’s closing, like a car is driving five miles per hour and it hits you. It could probably kill someone with a soft skull.
I was a far distance from the heavy ass door and I saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair approach the door. I whispered out loud “oh no here we go” because I knew it was going to suck for her. I walked faster toward her and she started ramming the front of her wheelchair – and quite possibly her legs – into the heavy ass door. She used the joystick of her chair to go back and forth, ramming into this door repeatedly, and I’m watching, trying to increase my pace, not like I start running to help, but I just walk a bit faster, and no one else is in between her and I. Each of her rammings pushes the door open more and more slightly. It’s like watching someone push a boulder up a hill.
I’m getting really close now and I feel my arms lift up and out toward her, almost against my will, as if a muscle reflection of decency. She is pushing through, being born in the doorway, and I arrive and push the door the rest of the way open, and she is through, gliding on the other side. Nobody is talking. I don’t look at her as I walk by, but I whisper to myself “that sucks, why isn’t there an automatic thing to make it go open?”
I think about other doors I interact with numerous times a week. Some are revolving, which her wheelchair would definitely not fit in. Many doors are just regular ass doors, moderately heavy doors. Others have buttons that open the door automatically, and people who aren’t in wheelchairs push the buttons over and over, sometimes slap the button hard like facing a door has ruined their day. There’s a double door I go through ten times a week with lines of hundreds of people. One of the two doors has an automatic door open button and half the people in line are in a crazed rush and they smack the button multiple times as they walk by even though the line is moving so slow they are hardly moving at all, and by design of bottlenecking at the doorway, everyone ahead is holding the door open for the next person. People smash a button that wasn’t intended for them, and the button’s function does not yield even the slightest improvement of convenience. Smash the button, smash the button, smash the button. The button absorbs tens of thousands of pounds of misdirected irritation every day. People who design automatic door open buttons have to consider this when they design their buttons: that people who have no business using the button will likely smash parts of their body into the button and gain nothing from it.
People in wheelchairs had it harder in the past, but come on, people who aren’t in wheelchairs. Be nice and don’t transfer your silly momentary frustration into an object that was created for the sole purpose of helping those who don’t have the privilege of walking. Do you approach seeing eye dogs and slap them in the face six times? And why is that one heavy ass door so goddamned heavy? Are there hurricane force winds that need quelling in that ALL INDOOR area? Some shit is really annoying to use and it makes me mad and when I see thousands of people a week dealing with the annoyance, I wonder how much forethought went into the thing. It’s a door. Get some people to walk through it and ask them if it sucked. If it did, change it.
It would be funny if here I linked to that radiohead song where Thom Yorke just says there are various kinds of doors.