The Day The Door Slams Shut Another Door Slams Open
- Dear Gang: Please excuse the delay in getting back to you here. There has been a new blog I have been working on and all that rot. Hope you like this short story on the theme; Door Slams Shut ps It is not like I am not lurching, though! (gibj)
Slamming doors, unfortunately, reminds me of a time in my awkward preadolescent and youthful life, which, to be quite honest, I would rather much soon forget.
As a young teenage girl, I always enjoyed Saturday mornings travelling by bus with my girlfriends to the inner city. By way of downtown, all agreed we would do the usual; hop on the city bus and travel to the big downtown of central Ontario Canada. Back then a town of approximately 200,000 people. This was my home town. It is where I grew up. It is all I knew, back then, and looking back now, a whole other lifetime ago.
There would be much more window shopping than purchasing, lots of looking around in Department stores like Simpsons, Eatons, Metropolitan, Kresge, Woolworths. Destinations in the "downtown" core were strategically planned for a week during the school recess. My two best friends, Christine and Julie would for many years be my steady and trusty companions; we always shared lots of laughs.
Like Georgie Girls, we were unfinished girls, but had high hopes. All week, we would anxiously discuss what we would do, who we'd meet there and what little trinket we could afford. Life was indeed ideal at age 13. Our world was a microcosm of all the dreams and ideals of "yet to comes". We were very naive, with saucers for eyes and dreams as big as the sky.
After we had exited the rear of the smelly bus, you could hear the pneumatic door close and we would leap from the back of the bus like we were on the moon. The world was without gravity's heaviness. Giggling and commenting on the latest fashions, invariably we would point fingers at found classmates who were on their own particular ventures. The many people downtown were organized with destinations in mind. We would always stop for a grilled cheese and chocolate milkshake at Woolworths.
Frozen in time, the store counter restaurant was located exactly in the centre of the department store. We would swivel back and forth on the barstools while we hastily slurped the shakes, and tried to appear mature to other customers. We never understood why we always had eyes rolled in our direction. Maybe it was the loud slurping noises, or the unruly laughter, probably the incessant creaking from our swivelling on the barstools. After looking through the bins of Mabelline makeup and wanting to buy bright blue eyeshadow and orange-flavoured lipstick, it was time to check out the rest of downtown.
Now what what were we going to do? We had another two hours to kill. All had decided to venture to Simpsons and go up and down the rickety escalators! Julie loved to do this, and we usually gave in to Julie's whims because she had access to horses and we wanted to ride the horses later on that day. Julie was fickle, and if she did not want us to ride the old nag Nelly we would not. No ammount of convincing could change her mind. Julie was like that and Chris and me would make sure to make her happy so she would allow us the priviledge of the Equestrian Arts. We told Julie we would go to Simpsons and ride the escalators for half and hour if she promised to let us ride today. Julie agreed.
So into Simpson's and up and down the escalators stopping to spray the powerful perfumes in the Cosmetics isle. Inevitably someone would vomit on the bus ride home from the many nasty atomizers sprayed here and there and everywhere to smell "lady-like". The perfume and the gaseous carbon monoxide from the bus' diesel droning engine being the culprit to sensory overload.
It was during a particular Saturday morning outing when I happened to realize the world did not revolve around me. No not at all. Until that time, I had been, to put it mildly, vain, pompous, and definitely, bratty. Alhtough I wanted to be less egocentric, the world was revolving endlessly around me, and I was loving it.
Looking back now, I found those early years, and the way I viewed the world similar to a dodobird. I was terribly forgetful and very negligent about my surroundings. Often staring into space, I was considered a "daydreamer" by some teachers. Remembering that those teachers that questioned my creative mind access also were the same ones that would make me place my spent gum on my nose for chewing gum in class.
At this point of the journey I would begin to conjure up my uusal childish fantasy world. Mine fancy was always palomino or dapple gray horses. I use to pretend I'd be riding a horse with crop in hand. It may have been the fact I never had the priviledge of horseback riding lessons like my sister. If I could not have a real horse, I would make-believe a pretend horse or horses. There were no limits to those beautiful creatures in my mind!Unicorns looked tame! Caught up in giddish, girlish gleeful games, I think I floated, rather than walked around on my size nine Clementines. Maybe it was the times.
It was a beautiful spring day when I remember that horrible memory which would haunt my every waking moment for the rest of my life to this very day.
I have never liked doors. They get in the way. If there were no doors at all, that would be wonderful world.
As I was cantering on my make-believe horse into Simpsons Department Store with my two friends skipping to catch up, something heart wrenching was about to happen. My friend Chris was trying to push ahead of me and in the commotion I did not notice that the huge department store doors. These plate glass doors were so heavy and at least ten inches thick. The doors were able to swing precariously back and forth like salloon doors upon opening.
As I had rushed through the huge doors chasing Chris and Julie, I had forgotten the little old gray-haired lady behind me. Then that horrible door came so very close to killing that dear sweet woman. I am glad I had a praying grandmother, standing in the gap for all my folly-full ways as a young lassie. Oh poor sweet little old gray haired lady as the door swung in the opposite direction, she took the full force of the door upon her dear sweet shoulder.
All of a sudden, the most foul and illicit comments came streaming from this dear sweet lady's illustrous mouth. Immediately I had turned around to look at the screaming woman. She berated me endlessly for a least ten minutes in front of all my friends and total strangers. Stunned, with my mouth hanging open, I was in total shock and denial.
My thoughts were spinning in my head. I did something really horribly stupid, and I am going to get in terrific trouble at home; I thought to myself.
Profusely apologizing to the cursing woman, there was a madness in her eyes I had never seen before. At this moment the woman was starting to reach for her umbrella I was at this time, profusely saying how sorry I was, and that I am stupid, and I did not mean to look behind me as the door came crashing into the poor lady.
Once the woman saw that I was indeed very and most sincere, all was forgiven. I felt a weight lifting from my neck. All was well that ended well. The woman was ok, and then she began apologizing to me for getting so upset. For those few adrenaline minutes, I thought I was the worse person on the earth.
Chris and Julie were way ahead of me and came back when they heard all the commotion. We all decided to go horse back riding and forget the awkward moment of my myopic mistake.
Today I realize it was not my fault that doors swung backwards. Doors should always be on pneumatic door jambes, especially doors of this magnitude. Certainly, it could have been much worse, the lady was much better after I asked if I could help her. I really did not think that I she had thought that I was intentionally trying to harm her; she may have been lonely, looking for any excuse to get someone to notice her. It seemed that way to me.
After this incident, finally reality set in, I was no longer a free-floating teenager daydreaming my life away with make-believe horses and skipping and rolling and floating through life, wholly centered on self. I had became that day much more courteous to my fellow human beings, especially senior citizens and the physically challenged. I started to volunteer and help those with physical challenges and do to this day.
And to this very day, I am always so very, very careful around doors and people in general, always holding doors open long enough for everyone. Never will a day set that I will forget the real meaning behind the day the door closed shut.
- Dear gibj
My original challenge ,which I knew would create a response from our good friend Bernie, was issued to him 38102 and his immediate response came with 38103.(Doesn't that man ever go to bed?)
I acknowledged this 38105 and having proved there is no such animal as writers block, I thought that was the end of the discussion
However I was pleased to see you also took up the challenge 38113
and you did an excellent job with your story.
Just one point if you will allow me to be a little picky.
Re. "Ten Inch thick door".I imagine even the strongest safe would not have a door that thick.
I have installed doors eight inches thick but those were to the entrance of nuclear shelters and were steel shells filled with concrete.
Entrance doors to stores would need to be no more than two or three inches thick to allow customers to open them without strain to themselves.
Even with bullet-proof glass of visual clarity,composed of three or more sheets of glass fused together to absorb the energy that needs to be dissipated when a bullet strikes, it would be no more than one and a half inches thick.
That's the end of my little niggle and I close with thanks for proving
the point in question about those words which I hope will never be
used again as an excuse for laxity of literary composition.