April 17, 2006

Am I an asshole?

How do you people feel about door etiquette?

Consider the following scenario...periodically, I pop into the skyways here in Minneapolis during my lunch hour to pick up some food, go to the bank, buy some jeans at Off 5th, etc. Often I encounter a small, oldish woman in the skyways. She's maybe 70 years old and very, very thin...she looks quite brittle, as though she didn't get enough calcium, but she's quite spry, and sometimes walks with a walker and sometimes walks on her own with a big fat purse swinging at her side.

On more than one occasion, we've chanced to arrive at a door at the same time, and since she's been using her walker, she's asked me to hold the door open for her, which I have been more than happy to do, even though she has never said please or thank you to my efforts. I should note that almost all the doors in the skyway system have those handicapped buttons you can press that will open the doors automatically for you.

Just now, I was returning to work and passed through a set of doors--a head of me was the smallish woman, without a walker this time. She was wearing her usual ensemble of pink slacks and white sweater. Ten seconds after I passed through the doors, we came abreast of each other. Think about it. Ten seconds. At that point, she said, "would you hold open the door for me?" pointing back the way I had just come.

Though it happened in the space of two seconds, my brain went through a series of calculations, and in the end, I declined to retrace my steps and open the door for her.

I continue to think that I was within my right to refuse to go back and open the door for her. Colleagues in the office think otherwise, and I fear my professional relationship with them has been seriously harmed.

everyone hates bush | mark dayton: dumbass | (white) male privilege, black respectability, and black women's bodies

Posted by jason at April 17, 2006 12:07 PM

Probably shouldn't have told anyone about that. Don't be surprised if you get fired. It'll be a thinly veiled retaliation on behalf of the old woman you've probably killed.

Posted by: mike at April 17, 2006 03:27 PM

The old lady is probably senile. What's the excuse for the rest of you?

Posted by: glen at April 17, 2006 06:32 PM

Yes, you are hereby an ASSHOLE! It's so sad to think you are so selfimportant and your life too damn structured to stop for 2 seconds and help a little old lady. Don't worry though, the world seems to be filled with inconsiderate folks just like you-so you're not alone. Have a super day.

Posted by: Spike at April 18, 2006 09:48 AM


Posted by: jason at April 18, 2006 09:58 AM

Last Sunday, in Merriam Park, I was loading my friend's bike into the back of my car. A car pulled up with two women, probably in the 80-ish age range.

The asked me to move my car, since it was "the spot they were used to in front of their church". We explained that we were leaving in just a moment, and they were welcome to the spot. We went back to loading the bike.

She stayed away for about a minute, then walked back over and said "couldn't you move your car to the other side of the street now, then put the bike in over there?".

We thought about pointing out that they too could park across the street, and walk the extra 20 feet to church, but instead we just finished loading the bike without comment and left.

I'm all for courtesy, and it's warranted 99% of the time, but it's not impossible for someone to push it too far.

Posted by: Barry at April 18, 2006 11:15 AM

I have thought about this for a very long time. Door etiquette. You wanna know what really boils my blood? More than old ladies who can't open doors for themselves? More than Hoverounds? This: when you open a door for yourself, and after you have passed through it your forearm keeps that door ajar for the person passing through directly behind you, and that person passes through the frame of the door without ever touching the door itself. When someone ahead of you is holding open a door for you, however perfunctory, one must at least acknowledge the gesture by touching the door. Touch the door. The door is a baton that the former door-opener is passing to you. At least pretend to take it by merely pressing your fingertips against the glass.

If there is one thing that sends me into the quiet, seething, blind-red rage which propels me through the day, it is holding a door open for someone who doesn't even acknowledge my existence.

Posted by: jason at April 18, 2006 12:09 PM

yes, that would have been very rude if you had refused to open the door. It's two seconds of your time and she might have a hard time with those doors.


Posted by: nothindoin62 at April 18, 2006 02:00 PM

Fuck her.

Posted by: mike at April 18, 2006 04:55 PM

here's the thing... I grew up in MN but go to college in Charleston, SC, long known as the country's most polite city.
Just open the door for other people, say please and thank you, say hello to people you pass on the street (or in the skyway).
People defintely move a little slower down here, but it's much more enjoyable to just give eachother that common courtesy.
In MN, when a person in a store would say, "how are you today?" I used to answer "good," and continue on... but now it's "fine, how are you?"
even if you don't really care, just act like you do! You'll make that person feel better, and you'll feel better about yourself, too

Posted by: MNinChas at April 18, 2006 08:36 PM


Posted by: glen at April 18, 2006 11:36 PM

doesn't this woman have any children to hold the door for her? isn't that what offspring are for?


Posted by: marc at April 19, 2006 11:27 AM

you'd think!

Posted by: jason at April 19, 2006 11:42 AM

It took me a while to figure it out... SHE WAS HITTING ON YOU!!!

Posted by: JOHN at April 22, 2006 12:13 AM

Wow. I always suspected that you have sociopathic tendencies. Particularly as you seem to see nothing wrong with reducing everyone around you to exploitable objects to be used and discarded at your leisure. Now we have a fine example of your mentality at play. What the hell is wrong with you? Is it really that much of a inconvenience to you to open a door for someone? Does every action you take on behalf of another person have to be tied to some kind of immediate reward for you? Sometimes you just do things because they're the right thing to do. If you don't understand that at this advanced stage in your life, I fear there's no hope for you. The most tragic part of this whole scenario is how mundane it all is. This level of self-absorption is what can be expected from your average consumption obsessed, television addicted middle American. Congratulations on joining that club.

You should be deeply ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: Jeremy O'Dell at April 23, 2006 11:45 AM

Forget to take your Lithium, Jer?

Posted by: glen at April 24, 2006 08:22 AM

Forget to put your ugly ass portrait back up into the attic, Glen?

Posted by: Jeremy O'Dell at April 28, 2006 10:54 AM

If a portrait were to be made of glen, it would not be 'ugly-ass.' He's sexy. Not only do I think that, but so do his student...you should see what they write about him on ratemyprofessor.com

Posted by: jason at April 28, 2006 12:17 PM
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