I was with a friend the other day and as I walked through the automatic doors of the mall we were deep in conversation and, as he happened to be looking at my face at the time, he noticed the almost imperceptible flinch that happens every time I walk through them.
“Dude, did you just flinch?”
I sighed and nodded.
Believe it or not, this story goes back to when I was three. Mum and my brother Steve were eating at a cafe in the mall, and I was running around outside the cafe as three year olds do, go in and out of the automatic door, it was a game.
It would turn out to be a game fraught with peril.
At one point, distracted, I was standing in the dead of the doors when they started to close. Being too small to activate any sensor I noticed too late they were going to close on me. As the doors hit my arms I shifted leaving all of the body out of the door’s grasp, but planting my head now firmly jammed between the two, seemingly closed, doors. I shifted and strained but couldn’t budge either my head or the doors themselves.
My brother Steve ran over to see if I was okay. Then attempted to single the door to open. I remember him waving his hands in front of the sensor causing it to open and release my head from it’s entrapment.
To this day, if you pay real close attention whenever I got through automatic sliding doors there’s imperceptible flinch. This flinch used to be a lot MORE noticeable.
In fact, until age 12 I used to raise my hands and wave them in front the sensor, an almost exact repeat of what Steve did years earlier, whenever I walked through them. It occurred to me as I started in high school, that among other eccentricities this was probably one best kept hidden, and promptly shoved my hands in my pockets whenever I walked through them.
The hand waving thing still occasionally happened if I was on my own, very occasionally, and especially if no one else was around, so even in my mid twenties I would absentmindedly do it.
Alas I appear much more normal now. I don’t think anyone’s seen me do the weird hand wave in years.
But still, every time I walk into a mall, or a shopping centre, or a video store, pay real close attention and you’ll see me ever so slightly flinch.
It’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime.