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On slamming doors


There are two things in the world that are guaranteed to make my blood pressure go from normal to nuclear in a fraction of a second.

The first thing is a crude right-winger throwing a talking point at me that he learned from Rush Limbaugh. We liberals are supposed to go down mewling and begging for mercy at the mighty power of right-wing talking points. I respond with involuntary rage, and maybe a fact or two that Rush Limbaugh didn’t think to tell them.

The second thing is the sound of a slamming door.

It has been many years, I’m happy to say, since I’ve heard a door slammed in anger. But a heavy door slammed carelessly — with a loud noise and the shaking of walls — spikes my blood pressure all the same.

I well remember the signs that used to be posted inside the doors of New York taxicabs: DO NOT SLAM THE DOOR. How I wanted one of those signs! I have the utmost empathy for those New York cab drivers. For one, the sound of the taxi door slamming is jolting to the driver even in the noisy context of New York City. And for two, it damages the door and the latch. The doors on old cars are almost always damaged (and thus close poorly) because people slammed them.

It’s very awkward, but if a houseguest slams an abbey door, I usually can find a minimally obnoxious way to restore peace and quiet. I try to find a way of bringing up the subject of two of the abbey’s exterior doors, which are pretty nice doors and which I never would have been able to afford had my contractor not bought them for me at a bankruptcy sale. The latch hardware is German (Hoppe multipoint latches). The lock cylinder also is German (CES Gruppe). When closed properly, the doors make a quiet little “snick” sound as the latches engage, like the door of a Mercedes.

When I was at the San Francisco Chronicle, we had a new Rolls-Royce for a few days that the auto editor was reviewing. I was impressed to see that the doors closed themselves. When you pushed the door almost together to close it, a closing mechanism would take over. I don’t know if the mechanism was electrical or hydraulic. But, untouched by human hands, the door would finish closing itself with a faint little snick of the latch.

I love the sound of a door that snicks. In the best of all possible worlds, all doors would close themselves and say “snick.”

Here in the South, back when people had screen doors, children (including me) were told a million times, “Don’t slam the screen door!” But screen doors, unlike other doors, had springs on them to close the door and keep the flies out. No wonder they slammed.

Whether car doors or house doors, it ought to be a universal rule (screen doors are an exception): Children should be taught to never “fling” the door so that the door closes from the inertia of being flung. The right way to close a door is to keep a hand on the door and slowly push it closed until the latch clicks. Or snicks. That works with car doors, too. Unless car doors have been damaged from slamming, they’ll close quietly and easily.

2 Comments

  1. DCS wrote:

    MATT!!!

    Every day when I drop him off at work, I ask him not to slam the door. And every day he slams the door. The trunk lid, too.

    It’s a Mercedes for God sake. NOTHING needs slamming in a Mercedes.

    Snick, indeed. :-/

    DCS

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink
  2. Henry M Sandigo wrote:

    The first we did when we moved into our house was to replace the drawer slides and cabinet door hinges with self closing mechanism (after you gave them a slight shove)…now they kind of “snick” but quieter

    Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

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