Hydraulic Door Closers

Ahh the innocent, ubiquitous self closing door.
Doors keep out the cold, they provide privacy, they can be a form of art even. But most importantly, they create social angst.
But only among strangers.
If you’re hanging out with a friend or relative and you’re walking towards a door, one of the two of you will grab for the door first and hold it for the other. It is a common courtesy and a reasonable assumption that you want to keep walking with the person.
I seem to recall some cell phone carrier that couldn’t work out how to reliably transfer ongoing calls from one cell tower to the next if you were on the phone in a moving car.
They called that a feature, because having disconnected your call, it gave you the opportunity to not call the person back.
But assuming you both want to walk through the door, you manage it because you’re walking together and in close proximity to each other when you reach the door.

But what if you’re in a public area and you’re walking towards a door by yourself. You open the door, go through it, then notice that there’s somebody behind you. But they’re not right behind you, maybe they’re 20-30 feet behind you.
So you hold the door open for them because it’s rude not to. Letting a door close in somebody’s face is inherently seen as a slight when really it is just a side effect of hydraulic door closer physics.
The hydraulic door closer doesn’t know that, but the person does.
So now the person who’s 20-30 feet behind you sees that you are being considerate to them, and they now feel obligated not to inconvience you any more than need be, so they hurry up and rush towards the door.
It was kind of the person to minimize your wait since you did them a nicety by holding the door for them.

But what do you do if the person is 35 feet away? 40? 50? Where do you draw the line? Do you take into account how fast or slow they’re walking?
Do they look like the kind of people who are likely to speed up to get the door so you don’t have to wait, or are they going to maximize your suffering by making no effort whatsoever to reciprocate your kindness?

Now imagine you’ve got 2 doors in an airlock type fashion. And there’s 3 people. The situation gets very complicated very quickly.
All because of the stupid hydraulic door closer.

Oh but wait, it gets better.
What if you’re walking towards said door, but you’re walking slowly, and there’s a person behind you who is walking quickly and given the distance from the door, and your relative speeds, they will arrive at the door before you do.
Imagine that. Somebody walking behind you (you being the slow one) can see their miserable future, that they’re going to have to wait for you as they hold the door open for you because they got to the door before you and will kindly hold it open for you. And neither of you are even near the door yet.
Being the slow walker you are, they can tell you’re not going to speed up for them.

Oh those hydraulic door closers. How did they invent such social angst.

Maybe everybody should walk in clumps. You gotta get a ticket to go on this ride. That way, the clump all goes through the door in one stream, and like body surfing, everybody holds the door just a bit until the next person gets it.

I think it’s 2013 and it’s high time we invented a door that doesn’t have this problem.
Revolving doors don’t have this problem. And they’ve already been invented. They also solve lots of air conditioning pressure related problems. Why aren’t there more revolving doors?
Of course revolving doors have their own problems, but that’s a story for another day.


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