The chaos of double-doors

November 17, 2017

With the school’s recent decision over “Buyer Beware,” discourse at Brandeis has turned to the very serious issues of censorship, art and speech. However, our attention needs to be directed elsewhere. There is something more pressing, more persistent and much more pertinent to our everyday lives at Brandeis—and no one is talking about it. It affects you and me in ways so subtle few seem to remember encounters with it for more than ten seconds or so after the fact.

Double-doors—we do not know how to use them. And worse yet, no one wants to learn.

When approaching double-doors, people should use the side consistent with customs for walking. Approach the door from the right side and open the right side. Always stick to your right, and nothing bad will ever happen, and all will be efficient and in line. No one should ever approach from the left side; one should always walk on the right side of a path or hallway, relative to their own perspective. If I were in charge of this land, I would firstly enforce these principles with an iron.

But do most of us respect this custom? No! People barrel through on their left side, people brush past classmates trying to enter through the right. I experienced a small crowd exiting straight past me without opening their side of the door as I opened mine first when entering Mandel this past Wednesday. They stared at me as they moved past, brushing quietly but stubbornly against me. Their faces betrayed their en-masse realization that I was right and they were wrong, and their confusion indicated that any sense of common order and social contract have been lost among the students of Brandeis.

Doors are nearly impossible to pass through when classes change. The worst places are the main access doors to the ground level of Mandel and the rear entrance to the International Business School, though such issues of inconsistent door-opening occur often when moving in and out of the SCC and Usdan.

The cost of these mistakes is awkwardness and inefficiency, loss of time and sanity. Will our supposedly proactive, activist attitudes at Brandeis save us or rectify this injustice that we all are complicit in perpetuating?

Can anything be done? Perhaps Brandeis could post signs, maybe they could make official rules, or create compliance through brute force? Maybe Brandeis students will one day learn to walk through double-doors without chaos. Until then, we are stuck at an impasse, with both sides breezing through the same side of the doorway.

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