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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Have you ever wanted to kick a door? I won’t make you admit it but have you, perhaps, actually kicked a door? Like when it got all up in your face and door-ish with you?

Hi, my name is Carol Lynn and I’m a crazy person.

But if you’ve been following along you already knew that.

The door to my laundry room will just NOT stay open. Whether I push it hard or gently, coax it or threaten it, stand there and hold it very, very still and wait for it to settle, it merely laughs in the face of my attempts and smacks me in the butt.


Most doors in my apartment are like that. When you build something with spit and glue that’s what happens. One of the first things we ever bought, before we had unpacked the three things we brought here with us, was doorstops. Every door in the place has one of those ugly brown plastic doorstops wedged under it because not a single one will stay open.

They don’t actually close, either, just hover there midway so you are more than 98% likely to walk right into the edge of it in the dark or on your way to the bathroom at night or when you’re thinking about why you went into the room in the first place so you’re distracted and smack your face on the edge.

The doorstops are annoying, too, because when you want to close a door you have to move them, which means you are 98% likely to step on one and trip in the dark or on your way to the bathroom at night or when you’re thinking about why you went into the room in the first place so you’re distracted and you step on it with your sock-feet and it feels like someone stabbed you right up to your elbow.

I sometimes feel a wild fury toward inanimate objects, primarily because they are supposed to be inanimate, which means they should just sit there and do the thing they were intended to do, not moving unless you direct them, not opening or closing or falling or failing.

But that’s not how inanimate things work.

They are occasionally defiant, often malicious, and will do their own thing and not care how you feel about it.

It’s maddening.

Take the phone, for instance. When you tap on an app, the app is supposed to open. It is not supposed to wiggle or jitter or jump or do nothing at all so you have to tap-tap-tap about six times.

The number of times I typo a phone number is truly excruciating. I suppose it isn’t altogether different than dialing a rotary phone and your finger slips out on your fifth 9 so you have to start over. But at least that was something you could control. I have no control over whether a nonexistent button on a flat phone screen will decide that it has been “pushed” sufficiently to do something.

The phone is notorious for doing what it wants. It wants to open a browser? It opens a browser. It wants to quit your app? It quits your app. It doesn’t feel like recognizing your face or finger or passcode? You will do it again and again until it changes its mind.

I have recurring dreams that I am trying to make an emergency phone call, or trying to reach someone to tell them I’ll be late for dinner, or want to warn someone of some bad situation/weather/thing that they need to know immediately. And as I do this, the numbers keep moving around and apps keep popping open and blocking me.

Sometimes in these dreams I get so frustrated that I fling my phone clear across the room, only to have it float down like a feather and bounce on my bed.

The phone won’t even be flung properly!

In real life I I occasionally pretend-slam it, because it’s way too expensive to actually throw it. At least when you had a rotary phone it gave you the dignity of a receiver, which you could slam down with a satisfying FWWAAANNNGGGG. You can’t slam a nonexistent button on a flat screen, which makes it all the more infuriating that you can’t even be infuriated effectively.

This wasn’t what I planned to write today but when I sat down to do it, those words about kicking a door came out.

It is almost impossible to get proper revenge on an inanimate object. If it’s a thing you need, you can’t throw it out a window, much as you might like to. If it’s a thing you don’t need, you will still have to spend more time than you might think cleaning up the pieces after you smash it to smithereens.

If it’s expensive, like, oh, EVERYTHING, then you are really only spiting yourself in the end. And if you did kick the door, and it made a hole in the wall, say, you would feel triumphant for a second but then you’d realize you just lost your security deposit.

Life is complicated like that.

You know what never defies me? A bottle of bourbon. Or wine for that matter. Nor the glasses waiting to be poured into. Glasses are quite amenable. They just sit there and wait with their mouths open, which is just as it should be. And then they accept your offering.

Sadly, they occasionally do get smashed to smithereens, but not on purpose. It’s sort of the inanimate object’s version of Only The Good Die Young.

On the plus side, I did get even with the laundry basket when it ate my finger between those stupid tiny little holes. After I set it down to extricate what was left of my pinkie, I picked the basket back up and slammed it down on the floor. It was rather satisfying. So there!

Photo: look at that wine glass, so congenial! It did exactly what it was supposed to do. Also drinking large quantities from it makes you care a lot less about inanimate objects.