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.