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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Why a visit to department stores can be stressful

Revolving doors make me apprehensive. If they put any in my school instead of the push-or-pull-the-oldfashioned-way doors we've got, I'll be looking for another job. How could I teach the bloody bits in 'Macbeth' or 'Lord of the Flies' with any integrity to Year 10s who've seen me hesitating at an entrance as though I think it's an electric fence?

But there are just too many dilemmas involved.

Firstly, is it good revolvingdooriquette to get into the same quarter as someone else? I did this today and it felt too close, like I was being one of those people who doesn't understand about personal space.

Spontaneous piece of advice for personal space invader types:
Only shaving mirrors should be allowed to see people's pores that close up. Only clouds should be allowed to spit on people. Only Mediterraneans in crowded tubes have an excuse for breathing garlic over people. No one converses with their back and palms against a wall without a good reason. If you are close enough to see the specks of dandruff as individuals with endearing idiosyncrasies, you are probably annoying someone.

Anyway, back to revolving doors, as it were. And I did, indeed, have my back to them, so that the other person in my quarter didn't feel intimidated. I would have done. If someone deliberately got into my quarter, when they could just as easily have waited for the next quarter, I would suspect they'd done this on purpose. However, turning around to see whether it was an axe murderer would, if it were an axe murderer, make his day, as I would probably have axe-murdered myself in the process in such a tight space. I see the headlines now: She Did It Herself, says Suspected Murderer found in Seedy Quarter of Leamington Spa.

Secondly, when should you jump in? It's a big decision, and dodging backwards and forwards trying to make the right one makes you look like you're practising for the pole vault. Revolving doors go fast and remind me of my teenage years when the boys would start the roundabout going so that the painted stripes on it became all mingled up and then dare the girls to jump on. Judge it wrong, and you looked like a dork, just like with the revolving doors. Either you hurl yourself into a quarter as though an axe-murderer is behind you and then look silly because there's loads of time, or you leave it until the last opportunity and only just make it, having to squeeze yourself in, leaving the belt of your coat trapped in the gap. And what about the elderly, the infirm, the wheelchair-bound, harassed mothers with buggies? How does one say politely: please move out of the way and let me past; I'm nervous?

Thirdly, what about that silly shuffle you have to do when you're in there? It marks you out as a conformist, having to go at exactly the speed of the door, not walking and not standing still, just letting yourself be gently shunted like one of those 2p pieces in the arcade machines. And if there are people in all the quarters, it's so embarrassing, 'cause you're all doing this stupid shuffle, like you're in a queue for public toilets, keeping your legs together but trying to move forward at the same time. Kafka would have a field day with the revolving door's tendency to de-personalise, to make you feel like a mere fraction of a human, trapped in there with the others, having to do what you're told.

You see? So many problems. What I want to know is, how can a revolving door be a better alternative than a bog-standard automatic one where you just stand on a mat and go through? Fewer opportunities for opportunist criminals like axe-murderers and personal space invaders, anyway.

4 comments:

  1. "Only Mediterraneans in crowded tubes have an excuse for breathing garlic over people." !

    Marvellous post. Very funny and true to form. I think Macbeth with his fear of delay would probably be as terrified of revolving door as you seem to be!

    "Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse:
    Revolving this will teach thee how to curse." (Richard III, IV-ii)

    Best,

    AJN
    http://adamjamesnall.blogspot.com/

    p.s. a new De Factoid should be out next week (with any luck!) A

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  2. Thanks, Adam. And I love the quotation from Richard III.

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  3. Fran - I fear I could waste a great deal of my life reading your blog. If only mine were so interesting, indeed if only I had time to write it. Perhaps I'll stick to updating my FB status instead. Ellie is...amused.

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  4. Thanks for your comment, Ellie. So you don't have a blog I can check out?

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