I don’t have pet peeves, I collect them. I sometimes joke that if I were to write a memoir, it would be titled, “Peeved: A Life Spent Annoyed.” But yesterday, I realized that there is one pet peeve that rises above the rest, a Super Pet Peeve, if you will. The one that makes me so angry that I will actually call it complete strangers for doing it.
Nearly every building constructed or remodeled after the passage of the American’s with Disabilities Act has an automatic door. The button used to open this door is usually emblazoned with the figure of a man in a wheelchair, because it’s supposed to be reserved for people who are physically unable to open the door themselves. Unfortunately, like the healthy person who parks in the handicap space, some able-bodied people treat this button like it’s their own personal doorman.
Now, I understand that if you’re overloaded with grocery bags, pushing a baby stroller or walking your dog, using the automatic door is just easier. It might even be necessary. So I’m willing to make some reasonable exceptions. I also recognize that not all disabilities are obvious at first glance. But nothing makes my blood boil like watching a seemingly healthy, unemcumbered person push the button for the automatic door. Especially, if that person happens to be a neighbor of mine.
First off, it’s just plain lazy. “Sure, I could use my perfectly healthy arm to open this door, but why should I do that when someone installed this handy little button that will do it for me?” Those of us lucky enough to have two working arms and a healthy skeletal system shouldn’t rely on an electronic mechanism to open the door for us.
Secondly, automatic doors are timed to stay open long enough that a person with a handicap or a person in a wheelchair can make it through. This is usually several seconds longer than a healthy person needs to walk through a door. And when you live in downtown high rise, nothing makes you quite as nervous as coming home to see the front door to your “secure” building open and unattended because your neighbor used the automatic door unnecessarily.
All the key fobs and magnetic locks in the world won’t protect you if you leave the door wide open. We don’t exactly live in Mayberry, here, people.
Finally, I hate when healthy people use the automatic door because there’s something truly…well, for lack of a better word, douchey…about a person who will stand in front of an automatic door for three seconds waiting for it to open sesame when it would take less time to just open the door yourself. And it’s extra annoying when there are people standing behind you and on the other side of the door who now have to wait for the door to open automatically because you were too good to just use the handle.
So while I dislike slow walkers, hate it when people order steaks well done or dressing on the side, and detest when people send dozens of text messages rather than picking up the phone or putting it in an e-mail, healthy people who use the automatic door just plain tick me off. Because I know a number of people, one of them a Marine who lost the use of both of his hands due to a combat injury, who’d love nothing more than to be healthy enough to be able to open that door without using the button.
I’ve told you mine, and I’d love to hear about yours. For today’s discussion, let’s talk about your biggest pet peeve. What is the one, otherwise insignificant, thing that just pushes your buttons and makes your blood boil?