On the first above-freezing day of the week, I bundled up and went out onto the back porch to clear my mind. I’d suffered a head cold for several days and was medicated to the max, but a deadline was looming so I pressed on. I settled beneath a mountain of comforters with my laptop, hoping fresh air would revive my senses and a column would materialize. When nothing presented itself, I commenced to staring at the storm door until my numb fingers went into action on their own. “Door,” appeared on the computer screen. “Door, door, door” followed, and from there it all went downhill:
Doors are good. They keep the elements and flying bugs outside and folks and their valuables safe inside. Doors hide the clutter in closets, and the locked ones whet the imagination; e.g., Will the lady or the tiger emerge from behind the coliseum door? That’s from F.R. Stockton’s short story “The Lady, or the Tiger.” The one that has had people mulling the dilemma of unsolvable situations for more than 200 years.
But sometimes there is no time for mulling. When the bad guys are behind you and gaining, take the first turn available, and if you come to a door at the end of the alley, dive in. Do it quickly. If it turns out to be the door to a coal chute, you’ll end up sooty but with your life spared and your money still in your pocket. If the door is locked, then you’re on your own.
Alice of “Through the Looking Glass” fame was on her own before she found a tiny key that opened a tiny door through which she managed to squeeze her temporarily giant self. She let herself in for all manner of exciting adventures, so you see that doors do matter. You can’t get in unless there is one, and you can’t get out without one, but doors are more than just an avenue of ingress/egress.
If you walk through a door with a purpose in mind but can’t remember what that purpose was, it’s not your fault.
A Notre Dame psychiatrist says that passing through a doorway triggers an “event boundary” that serves to separate one set of thoughts and memories from the next.
Hence, when you’re in the kitchen you’re thinking kitchen related thoughts that have nothing to do with the household checks you’re holding in your hand, so you’re as apt to put them in the oven as you are to pass back through the kitchen door and on to the mailbox at the curb.
An hour or two had passed before my clicking keyboard fell silent. I wrenched the back porch door open and slugged down another dose of Nyquil on my way to submit this column before deadline. I’ll know I should have read it first if my editor shows me the door.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.