Door rage (and wedding bells)
We have a sparkling new extension to our Faculty building in Cambridge, which wonderful in every way -- except for its FRONT DOORS. They look OK (although the photograph here doesn't quite bring out the best in them). The problem is opening the damn things. Because they are both (that is the exterior ones and those that then lead into the lobby) fitted with Health and Safety approved disabled operation.
This means that, in order to open them, you have to press an electronic 'open door' button -- and they then sweep aside dramatically in front of you. Dramatically and slowly. So, at busy times (like, on the hour, when lectures are changing over), there is a mass of bodies trying to get into and out of the building, but needing to wait for the stately pace of the doors' operation.
Can't you just push them anyway? Yes you can, but they are very heavy indeed (because of their motor), and not for the frail or those carrying a pile of books. In any case, as soon as you come along and push them open and then someone pushes the button from the other side, the doors take on a life of their own and come back and attack you.
And as if that wasn't enough, they repeatedly stop working anyway. To be precise, if the external button is misaligned as in the pictures (and this often happens) the doors don't open anyway -- and the tug of war starts.
This is disabled access legislation gone mad (or perhaps done on the cheap). I cant actually imagine that wheelchair users (not in truth that I have ever seen one taking advantage of these access arrangements) can be happy with this. I dont think that they want rage, and bottle necks, and difficulties that those on their feet but weak -- all for the sake of a system that does not even reliably work.
Even the gods have shown their disapproval in their own inimitable way. We decided to have some nice ancient writing across the offending doors (partly another H and S requirement -- you cant have plain glass doors in case someone bumps into them -- I kid you not). One of the quotes we chose was that famous lines of Aristotle about "all men by nature desiring to know". But look what happened to the 'S" of "Phusei" (by nature) .. an English not a Greek S.
Anyway on a less grumpy note, once we'd got through the doors yesterday, we had a celebration on. Our Faculty administrator is getting married - and we were toasting the occasion. Happy Saturday, Holly.