Column July 28, 2010: You spin me right round, baby, right round…

I DON’T like revolving doors, especially the ones which revolve vertically.

And automatic revolving doors are not much better. These are the ones which revolve at a slow, but specific, speed, forcing one to walk at the same slow, but specific, pace.

Walk too quickly and the sensor stops the door, making everybody in the device smack their noses into the glass. Walk too slowly and one is smacked on the backside.

I suspect the inventor was some sort of pervert who gets off on people shuffling, a niche interest poorly catered for by the internet. Needs must, etc.

However, there’s one good thing about automatic revolving doors – it is impossible for the hapless user to go the wrong way. Not so with the manual kind.

I accidentally went the widdershins way through a revolving door a couple of months back. To be fair to me, I wasn’t really paying attention and the person coming out of the door had gone the wrong way. I just followed the rotation. Then I realised there was no handle.

But I’d gone too far to turn and go the right way round and, if I’m honest, it’s only just occurred to me that I could have done that. I had to press on, pushing against the glass and forcing the door the wrong way.

I emerged into the open air and was surveyed by the snoutcasts smoking outside. I could tell they found me wanting.

Since then, I have been scrupulously careful to go through the revolving door the right way. I’ve even become quite good at it, nipping into the correct compartment without getting my foot trapped despite the fact that it’s spinning a bit quickly.

And one day last week, I, along with my fellow users, achieved revolving door nirvana.

All four of the compartments were occupied at once, a state of being which happens maybe once or twice within the lifetime of a door. If we could have high-fived each other I reckon we would have, but of course the fabric of the door prevented this.

It couldn’t last.

I’d popped to the hole in the wall to get some cash. I did the little dash that one does when one realises somebody else is heading for the same cash machine and I’d won, so I was feeling pretty smug.

I headed back to the revolving door, stepped inside the compartment… and realised it was going the wrong way. 

And there was a man inside pushing the door.

We both stopped. I looked him in the eye. He looked me in the eye. Both of us absolutely still.

I cracked first. I rolled my eyes. It was the sort of eye-roll which says, “Never mind, we’ll extricate ourselves from this sorry mess and nobody need ever know that you tried to go through the revolving door the wrong way.” You know the sort.

And he rolled his eyes too. In exactly the same way. 

For he had decided that I was the one going the wrong way.

I’d exhausted all the diplomatic options. It was time for war. I gripped the handle and started to push. He gripped the lack of handle and also started to push. Irresistible force met immovable object. And neither of us was moving. It was a classic Mexican stand-off, only in a revolving door.

And then I realised that only one of us was going to win. And he was clearly more resolute. The door handle was behind him, for heaven’s sake.

A man who had decided, against all the overwhelming evidence, that he was right wasn’t going to be deflected by me.

I let him win. He pushed the door and emerged into the open air, where the sneering snoutcasts were waiting for him.

And I? Well, I have a column which allows me to put the record straight. So who’s the winner now, Mr Clockwise?

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