Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doorway behavior

Maybe it’s just another of those Venus and Mars things

Since we’re currently short a car, I’ve been getting rides to and from work from Pat and occasionally Tadpole. At the end of the day, if my ride is late, I wait just inside an airlock with heavy doors, one side of which is equipped with electric motors for opening the doors, for handicapped access.

I have noticed a strict division along gender lines in how people use the doors. For example, men, no matter how heavily burdened, seem never to use the electric doors. I have seen men laden with briefcases, armloads of books, lunchboxes, and the occasional umbrella who, in spite of being able to get the door to open itself with a mere tap of a hip or elbow on the door button, will still go through the non-electric door instead. They have to go through all sorts of difficult maneuvers – have you ever seen someone do a kung-fu kick while carrying 40 pounds of books and a briefcase? On occasion, when I’ve seen a heavily burdened man approaching the door, I will push the button for him, but he still won’t go through the electric door.

Women, on the other hand, seem to have more common sense. I’ve never seen a woman with an armload of books and papers go through the non-electric door, unless someone else was holding it open for her. Even with relatively light loads, or with a piece of wheeled luggage to haul the books and papers, women take advantage of the ease of the electric door. It can be hard to open those heavy doors manually when one is towing a “trailer” – swing the door open wide, and then quickly pull the suitcase through before the door shuts.

So I’m left wondering why there is such a difference in how men and women use the door. Men’s approach just doesn’t make any sense to me. Sure, non-disabled people shouldn’t park in handicapped parking spaces, but that’s because when able-bodied people park there, the space is no longer available for those who need it. Using the electric door doesn’t deprive disabled people of it, so I can’t see any reason for not using it, if doing so makes one’s life easier.



Blogger Pat said...

Now, a truly manly man would go through the door ... and pay later for the torn hinges and broken glass, wood, or aluminum?

Thu Sep 27, 05:02:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

It occurs to me that doing a kung-fu kick while carrying 40 pounds of books and papers might result in an accident that leaves a person in a condition that requires use of the electric door.

Thu Sep 27, 11:30:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Nancy King said...

I once had a woman tell me--after I'd use the electric door--that I shouldn't use it because I was contributing to its wearing out sooner than it would otherwise, thus adversely affecting the handicapped people for whom it was intended. I didn't buy her argument.


Sat Sep 29, 04:33:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

The concept of universal design is that sound design principles benefit everyone, not just the handicapped. I would put the electric door into that category. Maybe the door would see wider use if it and the buttons to operate it had some logo other than the wheelchair, which so many people seem to interpret as "handicapped people only."

Sat Sep 29, 10:28:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous pL said...

How long does the electric door take to open? Perhaps it's more of a question of patience. I know I hate to wait for the automatic doors to open!

Sun Sep 30, 03:48:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

And then maybe there's the question of feeling more in control when one opens the door manually? Maybe some people don't trust electric doors?

Mon Oct 01, 01:03:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

OK, the door does take a few seconds. However, some of the contortions I've seen guys use take longer than that.

Ah, maybe there's merit in the idea of not letting the machines take control. Maybe we should all discard our electric appliances and go back to cooking on wood stoves, reading by whale-oil lamps, and otherwise eschewing technology.

Tue Oct 02, 12:33:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

For the easily confused or absent minded, using the electric door may not be an open and shut case. These poor souls may lose track of whether the door is half open or half closed.

Tue Oct 02, 12:43:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only speak for one man... I prefer manual doors and stairs over electric for the extra exercise (albeit a minimal difference). As a real estate investor, I am also aware of any utitility expense savings this may create for the owner(s) of the building. I am also creating less of a carbon imprint, since much of the electricity is created by burning coal. Also, these electric doors are typically labeled with some kind of handicapped use notice. Just because a handicapped person is not using them at the moment (like parking spaces), doesn't mean I shouldn't honor the true intention of why they were designed.

At least one man had already given this much more thought than you presumed. A single "door-opening/stair climbing" event such as this is enough to raise my spirits throughout the day, while others may continue on with their unhappy day looking for the next easy-out.

Wed Oct 10, 01:46:00 PM MDT  

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