Oct. 11, 2018 Who the hell thinks twice about doorways, those planks of steel, wood, or glass that open in front of us and then seal us off from whatever it is we’ve left behind? Anthropologically, doorways represented safety, barriers to beasts and being intent on harm. Spiritually, Doorways also represent passages, the movement from one state of being to another. Setting all that aside, I have a fucking complaint about doorways. They are designed for the able-bodied. The physics of turning the knob or pushing a bar and then overcoming the weighted inertia of a hinged barrier is largely taken for granted – unless you have destabilized to the point that you are tossed aside by a fair breeze.
Nowhere is this challenge more pronounced than in hotels. Doors are designed as barriers to thugs, fire, and disabled guests. Start with weight. Doors are steel, perhaps concrete filled and hinged to close swiftly and firmly. And they have massive hydraulic closers. Let the Commies drop the big one. You’re safe in the Marriott Courtyard.
Here is the drill. I drop all the shit that I’m carrying and use my dysfunctional hand to insert the key card and hope the various little lights blink green. I slowly turn the densely weighted handle, and lean hard. With luck, I’m halfway in. I quickly toss the key into the room to sustain forward progress. Both hands are needed to deal with all that stuff that I set down during process step number one. With ass wedged against the door, I lean down, grab bags and toss them into the room. But the nasty secret of doors is that back-swing is the true enemy. By now the 300-pound door has ejected me back into the hallway. The key is in the room. Fortunately, I have the walker and can go back to the lobby for another key.
Being in the lobby confers small entitlements. Rewarded with a large box of M&Ms and Strawberry Pop-Tarts, I cycle back to the room and go through the process once more. Door open. Back in with the walker. I wonder; will the door crush the walker as it closes? Lost in this concern, I trip over that bag tossed in thirty minutes earlier. At least I am in the room. And there are no witnesses. Relatively speaking, it’s all pretty good.
And I am in a well-appointed room with unlimited BTUs. I can be warm, safe, and comfortable. I can go to bed as early as I like. And I have a box of M&Ms. I busy myself with small tasks until a decent bedtime hour arrives. 8 o’clock is rest time. I Lay my head on the pillow, offer my nightly incantations to my beloved Allison and journey into the restful fog.
I awake with a start. The room is way too bright. The door is ringed with light. I’m talking “my Lord Jesus is comin’ for me” light. How is such a powerful barrier to people so poorly sealed to light? Fortunately, there are six pillows on the bed and I only need one. I use five pillows, three towels, and a down vest to knock down this crazy light. The effort interrupts my sleep to the extent that I now waste part of the evening writing this foolish blog.
But I don’t have large regrets. I choose this journey and put myself out there to do work that I love. Doorways represent challenge, a small test for a guy that used to run mountains and swim lakes. Someday soon, when I’m confined to small spaces there will be a light remembrance of landing on my ass in room 306 at the Courtyard in Lincoln Nebraska. It will bring a smile.