A Place in Hell: People Who Hold the Door Open for You When You’re Thirty Yards Away From It

I’m talking about those supposedly upright citizens who impose upon unwitting fellow citizens the duty of jogging to a door being held open from a distance or more than two normal strides. These passive-aggressive door-holding misanthropes usually perform this unsolicited bit of courtesy with a closed-mouth half-smile/half grimace, subtly exasperated at your indolence in reaching the door. Invariably, white headphones fill their ears, rendering them deaf to the forced gratitude which the door-holding elicits.[1] And for that person leisurely approaching an entrance, upon seeing a door being held open, he/she must then accommodate the door-holder by doing a pantomime of a jogger, which consists of awkwardly bobbing your torso and arms without actually walking any faster. Frequently if I see a door being held open for me at an uncomfortable distance, I’ll fake that I just got a text or call, diverting me from my presumed path, and forcing me to linger outside until the door-holder gives up and slinks away. In those situations I consider myself the winner of that little unspoken social contest. I choose not to analyze what it says about me that I see in an innocuous gesture a highly charged battle between two feuding citizens.

In fact the whole convention of holding doors open as a courtesy ought to be scrapped regardless of distance considerations. I much prefer opening the door on my own schedule and resent being beholden to the door-holder, and I am also convinced that society would generally be more efficient if this “courtesy” ceased, with positive implications on our GDP.

[1] On a somewhat unrelated note, now that every well-adjusted pedestrian puts on headphones immediately upon entering a public space, what is everyone listening to that I don’t know about? Seriously. And this question comes from a person who listens to music and podcasts at a healthy clip. Do people like music that much more than me? I feel like other commuters see me as some kind of social deviant when I ride the train to and from school without anything in my ears.

- Gorman Dupee

2 thoughts on “A Place in Hell: People Who Hold the Door Open for You When You’re Thirty Yards Away From It

  1. I’m willing to bet that over 50% of the people you see with those headphones in aren’t actually listening to anything. I think people are just becoming much more antisocial and asshole-ish over time.
    Speaking of assholes, the people who hold the door open from way too far away are up there, but the people who clearly see you 4 feet behind them and DON’T hold the door are up there too. Thank you, sir. I really wanted to walk right into that door because you didn’t feel like extending your arm an extra six inches.

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