By Carolyn Weinstein
Unfortunately, I live in North. This means that I should have no excuse for not going to the gym—seriously, I can see Phillips from my window—but because I am both creative and lazy, I found one. I live on the third floor of this wretched building. That means that I have appropriated walking up two flights of stairs as my daily exercise. Anyway, I walk up and down these awful green stairs several times a day. Every once in awhile, someone will be walking in front of me. Because the people at this school have this strange niceness about them, that person will hold the door open for me when we arrive at the next story. This is great when they’re going to the third floor—woo, I don’t have to reach out and touch the germ-infested handle!—but what if they’re not? Second-floorers hold the door open, too, even though they are unaware of my final destination. By incorrectly assuming that I belong on their floor, they have thrown me into a terribly dilemma of how to proceed in the least awkward way possible. Surprise! There is no least awkward way! Have you caught onto the theme yet? I can do one of two things: accept their graciousness, or go onto the third floor. I have never entered the second story under this circumstance. I don’t want to seem ungrateful of their good manners, but it’s not the right floor. “It’s not you,” I want to say, “you’re being nice! It’s just that I don’t live here.” At that point, I usually mutter under my breath, “that was relatively awkward,” and trudge up to the third floor. Crisis averted.
This is all assuming that you’ve gotten yourself into the building. Imagine that you’re turning the corner to get into North, and you see someone approaching the door straight ahead. The physics of awkward dictates that you two will arrive at the door at exactly the same time. Who swipes in first? Do you, the corner-turner, do it because the angle with which you approached the building means that you are naturally closer to the card swiper? Are you really that much closer, though? The distance is really only a few inches, which is negligible. Should you wait that extra half-second for the other guy to swipe in? That would make it seem like you were too damn lazy to swipe yourself in and just assumed that he would take care of it. Jerk.
So you go ahead and decide to swipe in. What if he already has his card out? That would be depriving him of the card-swiping action he was anticipating. This could hurt; some people derive a whole lot of self-worth and authority from using their ID card to open a building. Even if this guy is not in the minority of aforementioned losers (seriously, I stopped feeling cool because a card with my face on it unlocks buildings two weeks into the semester. Get a job.), the fact that he already had his ID out means that he already mentally and physically prepared himself to open the building. You basically just cock blocked him. Jerk.
Solutions? Don’t enter buildings or walk up stairs. Actually, you probably shouldn’t even leave your room. Safety first, Oberlin, you know your lack of social skills follows you everywhere. Follow my advice and you will never again hear yourself say, “God, that was so fucking awkward.”