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Trystan: dører i norge

March 17, 2010

I feel it’s time to dedicate an entire post to the doors in Norway (that’s what the title means!).

You see, doors here are weird. I’ve been here almost three months, and unless I’m familiar with the building, I still inevitably struggle with getting in and out of it. It’s insane. Maybe I’m used to it—or maybe it’s more consistent than I ever realized—but back home, I’ll be damned if I [can’t figure out / accidentally slam into / give up and find another way in] a door more than once a year. On the other hand, if I’ve never been in a building here, it’s pretty likely you can find me looking like a complete dolt trying to open its doors.

I mean, there are only so many ways a door can open, and only so many ways which make sense for a door to open. Norwegian architects seem to have handily dismissed these laws of physics and common sense and replaced them with what appears to be an easy way to make foreigners look dumb. You would think the nation that invented the cheese slicer would have an appreciation for convenience and ease.

How many ways do I open thee? Let me count the ways:

    1. Just push (these are exceptionally rare)
    2. Hit unlock button (which may be located anywhere from 10cm away from       the door to, apparently, the other side of Sweden). Now open it.
    3. Twist the unlock knob clockwise and push
    4. Twist unlock knob counterclockwise  (there’s no rhyme or                              reason! Evidently it’s whichever direction you don’t try first)
    5. Just pull (again, about as common as unicorns and Tom Cruise’s sanity)
    6. 7. 8. Prepare for button scavenger hunt or angrily twist anything in sight.        Then pull.
    9. Swipe student ID
    10. Swipe student ID, then type in the PIN code you’ve managed to forget
    11. Try all of the above, give up. Wait for Norwegian student to go by and             open the door with a look that says, “You suck at life.”

It’s also worth mentioning that only around half the doors are marked whether to push or pull them (after, of course, you’ve completed the secret combination and spun around twice while patting your head). It’s not obvious, either. Single doors often have the vertical handle which I’ve come to associated with “pull” but apparently means “guess” in Norway. Double doors sometimes have that typical slat that covers the seam – except you aren’t quite sure which door the slat belongs to (it’s a bit like the tunnel between Ferguson and Anderson Halls on the West Bank—that shit’s confusing the first time).

Norway: “We’ve got some of the best education, health care, welfare, environmental, and social systems in the world. But damn if we know anything about making sensible doors!”

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