The Old Coot moves in the slow lane

A guy was in line with me at the pharmacy the other day. His nose was red, puffy, and a little crooked. I asked him what did he do? Run into a door, and laughed, “Ha- ha.”

He said, “That’s exactly what happened. It was an automatic door; I wasn’t paying attention and ran right smack into it. It opened too slow.”

I immediately identified with his mishap. Automatic doors open too slow or too fast. And, even worse, they make you think that all doors will automatically open, and you bang into one that doesn’t.

A slow opening, auto-door like the one he encountered is a perfect example of why getting around gets trickier and trickier as you age. They are not as bad as revolving doors, which should have a warning posted on them saying, “No seniors allowed.”

Back to the guy who had an encounter with a slow opening, automatic door; it’s an issue that can go either way. The opening speed is based on an architect’s assessment of how fast the people using it can walk. The designer has to pick between someone with a stride like Wilt the Stilt, or someone who creeps along with tiny baby steps, like Tim Conway, playing an old man on the Carol Burnett Show.

The architect for this facility opted for a Tim Conway stride; the guy in the pharmacy met it with his face.  

If you’re scratching your head and wondering why anyone would walk into one of these slow opening doors, you don’t understand old coots. Slow or fast, we aren’t paying attention; we’re fumbling in our wallets or pockets in a panic, to make sure we have our insurance cards and the list of questions we want to ask the doctor, or a shopping list when going to a grocery store.

And, even though we checked to make sure we didn’t forget when we left the house, and when we got out of the car, we check yet again as we approach the door. We get distracted. I don’t know why I bother with the questions for the doctor. I always get the same answer, “You have to expect that at your age.”

A week or so later, I was going to the store where the mushed face guy ran into the door. I checked to see how the doors opened. They were slow, but perfectly timed for me. It made me realize how much my walking speed has decreased.

I doubt I could beat Tim Conway in a foot race. At least my face is safe. 

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