Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Open Door

I went to the bookstore at lunch today, which reminded me of an interesting phenomenon i noticed a while back. Imagine that you are entering or leaving a public place, such as, oh, i don't know, let's say a book store. Often there will be two swinging doors, one on the right and one on the left. If both doors are closed, most people will push/pull on the rightmost door and go through it. But-- and this is the strange part that is of interest only to me and possibly other deranged people with too much time on their hands-- if one of the doors is already open, people will stop and wait to go through the open door regardless of how long it takes. Seriously. I've seen people waiting in lines in both directions, both sides trying to squeeze through the open door, while all the time there is a perfectly functional door in front of one of the two lines that simply needs to be opened.

No lo comprendo. I don't think this has the same root cause as the compulsion some people have to sit in the parking lot waiting for a spot that's 10 feet closer to the door. I suppose it could just be some spontaneous emergent phenomenon. Maybe it's a California thing; we left-coasters all exhibit certain peculiar behaviors that result from having so damn many other people around. I'll have to add this to my ever-expanding list of potential thesis topics that will never be pursued, along with "The Evolution of the Jesus Fish", "Why Did People Stop Using Turn Signals?", and "The History of Failed Computer Languages".

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