Monday, February 25, 2008

The Doors

Rest assured, this is not a blog tribute to an ex-band.

I didn't really pay too much attention to the nature of my MIL's house over the many years we came to visit. Houses have their quirks and their idiosyncratic spaces, and any notice I took of this particular phenomenon was more in passing than in earnest.
While we were looking at houses, though, I began to realize that this was a characteristic of English houses in general, including the one we bought (though not so much the one I wanted to buy, but I'm still not bitter).

That is, "this" is, they are, the doors.

Let me provide a little background. I grew up in a place where the only rooms with doors were bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets and other utility rooms. Yes, there were doorways, but nothing one could really close. The house I spent most of my growing up years had a vast open space of entry hall, living room, dining room, something between the 2, and kitchen area. There were some dividers, supporting and non-supporting columns, hanging cabinets, and a bar, but no doors.

Perhaps this is a by-product of the colder climes, since air conditioning just sits on the lower layer while heating goes through the roof (ceilings tend to be oppressively low here for me as well). Our kitchen here had a door between it and what we use as the dining room, and we almost never closed it, and it was incredibly ugly, so we took it off. There is a door from the (old) entryway to the living room, and then another one from the living room to the bedroom area (a miniature hallway).

Unfortunately there is a draft that whooshes in via the old entryway. Also unfortunately that is a high traffic route, being the way to the kitchen, office, and all house exits (except in case of fire). Drafts don't bother me that much, but they bother a certain other person who lives in the house, and so everyone has to shut the door until it clicks each and every time they walk through it, regardless of how soon they plan to go through it again. I am not overly fond of this practice, but am less fond of being told and asked and reminded to do this.

When a certain person is not at home, I leave the door wide open with great glee.

As I said, ours and MILs are not the only houses designed this way. Recently we went to a friend's new (very old) house and stayed the night. This house was originally 2 miner's cottages built sometime in the mid-1800s, with additions and updates over the last 150-odd years. We were sleeping on a fold-out couch in the living room, which had French doors opening into the entryway. In the morning I had to make my way to the downstairs bathroom(toilet, cloakroom, WC), which was off the utility room. I went through the French doors, through the door into the dining room, through the door to the kitchen, through the door to the utility room, through the door to the bathroom. Each and every door was shut. By the time I came back into the living room, I was humming the theme to Get Smart. Now that theme comes into my head each and every time I have to close a door that shouldn't be there in the first place.
I think I am developing a door phobia.

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