Wednesday, January 23, 2019

People who hold the door open for you

Leye - Every other Wednesday

Here, I demonstrate 'the look.'

People walking steps ahead of you, who hold the door open for you thereby causing you to jog or walk faster. [Slow head shake.]

And that look. You know the one. That look they give you when they’re holding the door open and they turn to look at you. That look that says, ‘Well, where is my thank you? Won’t you say thank you? And what are you doing walking so slow? Come one and hurry up, will you. I’m being very good towards you here, the least you can do is to acknowledge my goodness with a thank you, or at least a thank you nod, and with quickened pace. I am being a good person. A good person indeed.’

But wait, who told you I wasn’t ok with my previous pace? Maybe I’ve worked out how long it’ll take me to get to where I’m going to and my current pace is the optimal speed for me. Maybe I just don’t feel like hurrying up today. Hey, you held the door open; I didn’t ask you to. It was all your choice, so don’t give me that look that says you expect me to run up to you to relieve your hand from holding the door open for me.

Sometimes, when there are people ahead of me and we’re coming up to a door, I actively slow down to increase the space between us in anticipation of them feeling obliged to hold the door open for me. I slow down and increase the space between us because I hope they can sense how far away I’ve dropped behind and that they thus conclude that they need not hold the door open for me (so that I do not have to hurry up to the door held open). But so far it hasn’t worked.

Surely there has to be a distance between two people that determines when it’s appropriate for the one ahead to hold the door open for the one coming up behind. What is it? Three paces? Four? Five? Surely, at a certain distance it should be blatantly obvious that by holding the door open for someone you are causing them to alter the pace of their walk in other not to look like an ingrate at your ‘kind’ deed.

Not even when I’ve stopped walking and pretended to be on a call. Some people just don’t know when to pass through a door and keep walking and leave the decision of when to reach the same door to the person walking up behind them.

 I’ve concluded that some people just like holding the damn door open once there is someone behind them. And it’s not an act of kindness; they just like to see people run. This is my conclusion. And because of this, I decided, along with other anti New Year Resolutions, that I would stop altering the pace of my walk because someone has held the door open for me. Not even when they give me ‘the look.’ And not even when the look goes from ‘hurry up, will you?’ to, ‘Are you having a laugh? Don’t you see me holding the door for you? Are you really just gonna keep walking at your normal pace?  What in God’s name is wrong with you????!!!!’

And purely based on principle, I won’t even say thank you. I did not ask them to hold the door for me, did I? No. So it’s not an act of kindness. No. It’s an imposition. It is selfish, self-serving, dangerous (I might trip and fall from hurrying up), not to talk of inconsiderate.

The one time it’s ok to hold the door is when it’s an elevator door. I’ll even run for that. But not a normal door that won’t leave its position no matter what time I get to it.

I made this resolution at the beginning of this year and so far I’ve not had the opportunity to put it into practice until this morning.

I caved. I hurried up and said thank you. I am not proud of myself.


  1. This is known, in the medical vernacular, as ostium verecundiam morbo (door opening illness, or literally, opening shame disease). There is no known cure.

  2. You did that because deep down inside you are a good person. Life is short and you wanted to spend a little longer on the other side of the door....and you put a jildy on to get there.
    Life is always better on the other side of the door.

  3. Once again, you’ve made me laugh out loud. You temp me to write about the people who let the door slam in one’s face. And the people who hold up a subway train with thousands of people on it to let one more person on.

  4. Leye, you'd fit right in with life in NYC, notably in my apartment building. :)