What am I? A turnip! Is my brain a revolting, mushy vegetable? I THINK I know how to open a DOOR! Insert key, twist and pull. Simple! What’s next? Are you going to show me how to tie my shoes?! Or how to draw a fucking circle!! STOP! PLEASE GOD MAKE THIS TORMENT OF INSIPID DRUDGERY END! I’ll do anything! Stop! Stop! I BEG YOU!
Even with all this internal chatter, however, I do become aware that the door opening procedure involves a key, a swipe card and a “tricky” door. The woman goes on and on about how once you swipe the card and turn the key, you sometimes have to jiggle and pull the knob just so before the door will open.
Apparently it’s a temperamental door because sometimes it will open for you on the first try, but other times it is a battle. This is one of those times. I continue to impotently stand there pretending to listen, arms limp at my sides, belying the edginess in my head, and watch for what feels like hours, but is probably minutes, as she struggles with the door.
She does not curse and although she appears to break a sweat, remains oddly calm throughout the whole ordeal. I don’t understand her calmness AT ALL because by the time she gets the thing open I’m ready to kill someone.
She takes a deep breath, turns around with a friendly grin, her hair now slightly disheveled and asks me, “Do you have any questions?”
Ah, yeah, I have a question: “Why did it take you for FUCKING EVER to open a door? WHAT is wrong with you? You have opposable thumbs, learn to use them!”
But of course I don’t say that.
I am then shown around a maze of hallways, rooms, multiple floors, stairwells, elevators and a dizzying array of signage, before being introduced to a bunch of people whose names evaporate, like drops of cold water on a hot skillet, from my memory the second they are spoken.
I smile and nod, “Pleased to meet you…blah, blah, blah…” and never again recognize any of them. It also takes me a month to find my way around after that initial orientation, which turns out to have been an utter waste of time in every conceivable way, and I am constantly lost and bewildered.
The door also remains an ongoing problem.
In the evening with a once hot but now cooling coffee in my left hand and my keys, swipe card and other crap in my right, as well as a bag slung over my shoulder I try to get in the door with the mantra: ” Swipe, key, door”…or is it “key, swipe, door?”
I can’t quite recall, but it NEVER works for me on the first try. Coffee sloshes down my sleeve and onto the floor and I begin muttering under my breath about how dumb it is that we need all these extra security measures as if what is behind that door is highly classified information pertaining to the next world war and the end of humankind, or impending alien invasions, or some such nonsense.
By the time I get through that door all I want to do is turn around and leave through preferably a different door.
I hate that door.
Then something terrible and horrible happens. I arrive at the cursed door prepared with the mantra already running through my mind: “Key, swipe, door…swipe, key, door..” only to discover the key is not on my keychain. Great.
How am I going to get in the fucking door now? I know there are people on the other side of that door, but there is no way they can hear me because there are other doors and everything is soundproof, bulletproof, idiot-proof…nothing will penetrate. I also do not have the number to call them, as that too seems to be “top secret”.
So I travel through tunnels and stairways, sleet and snow back to my car, which by the way is no small jaunt, hoping the key is there. It isn’t. I then journey back and use another set of stairs on the opposite end of the building, hoping that door won’t need the key. It does.
I run to and fro, up stairs and down, through hallways and up walls, nearly putting myself into cardiac arrest from the physical exertion of it all and still I cannot get in. Finally, I concede defeat and ask that a security guard meet me at the door to open it because I “forgot” my keys.
Security comes. He looks unimpressed. I once again, as is becoming a pattern, find myself standing by stupidly, heaving, still trying to catch my breath, as this man takes my ID, swipes it with a quick flick of his wrist, turns the knob and click, the door opens as smoothly and easily as you please. No key necessary.
He doesn't even try to hide that he's rolling his eyes and hands me back my card.
So all that time it turns out I did not need both the swipe card AND the key to open the door. I needed one or the other, not both. If I had been paying closer attention to the original opening of the door dissertation, instead of sneering about how stupid it was and how a gerbil could figure it out in less time, then maybe I would have saved myself a lot of frustration lo these many weeks.
The kicker? Later in the evening, as I rummage around my pocket for some change, there among the loonies, dimes and pennies is my “missing” key.