We often grow accustomed to things just… working, in our lives. Especially the small things. We power on our laptop and it boots itself up. We hit ‘Start’ and the microwave pops our popcorn. We pull a lever and a goose blares as a horn for our makeshift car put together with spare parts in a back lot by a bunch of street urchins. Wait, I think that last one was just in the Little Rascals.
When these automated tasks don’t go as expected, we’re usually able to work our way around them. But it’s still funny how some of the simplest of tasks not working can leave us utterly confused and lost, as I witnessed today.
The scene: your average local run-of-the-mill supermarket. I was making my way out with a bag full of groceries, walking through the first set of two automatic doors when I was quite rightly startled by a woman walking towards me up the corridor from the exit. I was momentarily thrown by the fact she was walking the wrong way back from the exit, and I noticed the utterly puzzled look on her face.
I asked her if the door was out of order.
“I think so,” she replied. “It won’t open.” And then, with some urgency in her voice, she asked, “How are we going to get out?”
Now it was my turn to be puzzled. Then I understood.
I smiled and waved her back towards the second door.
“Sometimes, you just have to give these things a push,” I said.
She flashed a momentary, embarrassed smile and we both escaped back out into our own worlds.