Holding the door for an entire line of people, when you’d only really meant to hold it for one person.
When I was a little boy, my parents instilled in me an almost psychotic dedication to courtesy. They insisted that no matter the situation, I should always aspire to be a gentlemen. As a result I am a priggish dandy, compelled beyond his will to hold every door I see, and bless even the mousiest of sneezes.
The other day, while heading out to get lunch, I held the door for a rather wobbly older woman. As she passed through the door, she turned as if to thank me, and was suddenly enveloped by a stream of strangers – opportunistic parasites, all – who flooded wordlessly through the door and onto the rest of their day. No one even looked at my direction, let alone said thank you.
The old woman, I’m sorry to say, has never been seen again.
Here’s the thing: I held the door anyway.
And this produces the most interesting irony. My dogmatic dedication to courtesy has been instrumental in the development of a lodged and bitter dislike of people.
There I am… this schmuck. This friendly, neighborhood doormat holding the door for you, and you don’t even notice. I’m the buddy you don’t know you’re walking on.
Your “doormate”, perhaps.
I hold the door for everyone. And as a result… I like almost no one.