In Praise of…Holding the Door




I’m going to take it down a notch from saving the world to basic manners…

When did it become acceptable to walk through a door (of the swinging variety especially) and not look behind to ensure that it wasn’t slamming in someone’s face? Worst offenders:  teenagers and believe it or not, older men.  Not elderly, infirm men but just-past-middle-age men. 

 I was behind such a man recently; both of us were heading for the same place:  Starbucks.  He was far enough ahead to get there first.  He pulled the heavy door open and cruised right through.  To make matters worse, he knew I was there.  He was old enough to know better. 

Since my kids could toddle through a doorway, I have harped on them about holding doors.  If they know there is someone behind them, they are pretty good.  If they forget, they usually turn around and apologize, as do I.  

Sure, distances can be tricky.  No one likes to wait, especially me, for dawdlers.  There’s a judgement call to be made when the distance might be too great between you and the next person.  I try to wait; usually the slow mover will say “Go on, don’t wait for me but thanks.”   If they don’t say anything, I will still usually wait unless I’m in a mad rush.  When they don’t say thank you I will still say, “You’re welcome.”  Cuz I’m just cranky by that stage.

Earlier this week I witnessed the worst infraction I’ve seen in a long time.  A woman with one of those strollers the size of an aircraft carrier was struggling through side by side doors.  The stroller, filled to capacity with screaming little ones, was wedged.  A couple actually stood just beyond reach of the door without helping; finally losing patience, they pulled open the other door and walked right past the struggling mom.  I was across the flipping street and rushed to help her.  She and I had great fun berating the rude couple at the top of our lungs.  They stood, backs firmly to us, ignoring. 

I wonder sometimes at the inattention we humans pay to each other even on the smallest of levels.  How can we save the world if we can’t even hold a door for someone?



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