Randall wrote at The Cauldron a bit ago:
If “never affect others without their permission” is a good moral rule, it ought to apply to holding a door open for someone without asking if they want you to without regard to whether one opens that door by using ones hands or by “wiggling one’s nose.”
… which immediately turned my mind to one of my biggest pet peeves. Holding doors open for people.
When I was pregnant with Tayler and trying to finagle a stroller full of Thomas and shopping it was bad enough, but when I was trying to tote two small boys, purses, diaper bags, and shopping, it got worse. Even when I’ve been out alone, whether I’ve had my arms full or not, I can’t name the number of times that both men and women have let doors slam into my face – even Preston’s guilty!
Me, I go out of my way to hold doors open for people – especially if it’s a woman struggling with a stroller and shopping – because I’ve been there myself. I know what it’s like to struggle a door open only to get stuck in it not even halfway through and have people look at me as if I’ve sprouted two heads – and not offer to come help!
I know what it’s like to have my arms full and have a heavy door fall back into my face, or gods forbid smash my fingers because I’ve tried to grab it (I don’t do that anymore). I can’t name the times I thought someone appeared to be moving toward the whole holding a door open for me only to have the door or the side of it smash into me. Ow.
Now, I’m a vindictive sort of person – especially if something or someone finds me in just the right mood or emotional state. Once, after having had a day of this, the next time I went out, I paid it forward. Yeah, not very nice and not even to the same people who did it to me, but hey. I’m a firm believer in what comes around goes around – and sometimes I’m the person who brings it. Did what I did help solve anything? Probably not. Did what I did make me feel better? You better believe it!
And yes, for anyone who’s wondering, I’ve done this to Preston, too, when he “forgets”. Let a door slam into his face once, and he remembers quick enough.
I met a man, a patient’s son, when I worked at the nursing home in Richmond in the Spring of ’94. He held a door for me while I was on my way out go to home for the day. I thanked him profusely. He told me that as a child he’d learned the hard way to hold doors; his mother taught him right. See, he said that as soon as he was big enough to walk and open doors, any time he and his mother were anywhere together, even if it was at home, if he went through a door and didn’t hold it open it for her, he wasn’t allowed to go through it. He had to go back and wait for her on the other side of it.
Works for me.
So yeah. Anytime someone does hold a door for me, man or woman, I thank them, whether my arms are full or not. It’s like when someone actually takes the time to count change back at the store (which 99% of cashiers don’t now), I say thank you. (and most of the time, I’m telling the cashier to have a good evening before hey have a chance or remember to tell me.)
Whatever happened to common curtesy??