01
Feb
08

Open Doors

An optimist would say that when one door closes, another one opens up.

A New Yorker might say, rather, that when one door closes, I’ll just, um … stay outside, I guess.

Despite there being a row of unlocked, fully functional doors — say, at a subway station or a library — they will stream through the single door that happens to be open. Spending any time in public spaces with New Yorkers, one will undoubtedly recognize this peculiar behavior repeated over and over. Rather than boldly striking out and pulling open a second, third — dare I say it — fourth door, they rely on someone else holding the door for them. Telemarketers are less direct in their opportunism.

And just as certainly, when I throw caution to the wind and open my own door, a stream of commuters falls into line behind me.

Flocks of geese are less stringent in their formation. Hives of bees are less singular in their purpose. Oceanbound bales of hatchling turtles are less predictable.

And how many times, when I am leaving a building and someone else is arriving, will that person slide past me to enter as I open the door to leave — often with the effect of actually obstructing my exit? What is more rude: To assume I have opened the door for them, or to refuse to say thank you.

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