Sometime last year, my company installed a second set of doors in the entrance to our building, creating a sort of airlock between the building and the outside world. I’m not sure exactly why they did this. The air outside the building roughly matches the air inside the building (with the occasional overlay of pine pollen). Perhaps it is precautionary, in case the Earth’s atmosphere falls off, or slips down into a giant puddle around Antarctica. (This would be due to the sequester.)
Anyway, part of the airlock infrastructure is the presence of a sensor. Now, sensors are generally good things. I have a sensor on my front porch light to turn it on when people approach at night. Sensors are also particularly helpful when opening supermarket doors, or determining whether an approaching stranger has life signs and/or armed photon torpedoes.
But this sensor is different. The second you open the inner door to leave, it helpfully announces in a loud voice, “FOR YOUR SAFETY AND SECURITY, PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR! FOR YOUR SAFETY AND SECURITY, PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR!” And rather than doing this in a calm, friendly, Eddie-your-shipboard-computer voice, this announcement comes from a tinny speaker in an accented drone. My best approximation would be the voice of Stephen Hawking’s chair if it were digitized from a Jeff Foxworthy monologue, or possibly a Southern Fried Dalek.
Understand, I’m a traditionalist in many ways, and my family (going back at least two generations) has pretty much made it a habit of leaving buildings through open doors. Going out the window seems needlessly complex, given that the windows in my building don’t open. And to be honest, I’m too set in my ways to start vibrating my molecules fast enough to pass through the door without opening it every evening.
But now I’m concerned. Am I really unsafe and insecure because I opened the door to go home? Or is this just my employer messing with me so that I’ll stay inside and continue working?
If you need me, I’ll be huddled in the corner with a steak knife pondering the subject.