It wasn’t until the automatic doors had completely closed in on my shoulders and were slowly squeezing me into oblivion that I realized I might be in trouble.
I’d like to point out before I begin this tale that this is no metaphor.
So to say, the “automatic doors of life” were not closing in on me.
They were real.
As is this story.
It all started with a shopping cart…
It was our first invitational out of town.
I had just driven four hours in a ten-passenger van with the world’s worst shocks and eight teenaged boys in the backseat who couldn’t give directions to save their lives.
To put this into perspective, my normal mode of transportation is a Mini Cooper.
And merging onto freeways frequently makes me sweat.
It was a close call, but I am happy to say that we made it in one piece and only a few curbs were harmed in the process.
Once I had kissed the sidewalk, I realized I had to buy snacks for the tournament. (This would later turn out to be untrue and I am now left with about a hundred personal sized bags of chips in my apartment…but I guess I’ve never seen too many chips as a problem. What can I say? I’m an idealist.)
My phone was nearly out of data and I absolutely REFUSED to give in to the man on that one. (Thanks, Trump.)
So my only option (in my mind) was just to drive until I found a grocery story.
Because…how HARD could that be?
After passing about a billion Starbucks and a Krispy Kreme or two, I finally found something resembling a grocery store.
Not a large chain by any means, but it looked like it would get the job done.
After I chose my selected food items (yes, all the chips), I walked over to the self-checkout.
It was there that I realized I would need to get a few cases of water.
Fortunately, they were right by the checkout.
Unfortunately, I knew there was no way I would be able to walk them out to the car by myself.
I’ll get a cart.
But as I looked around, I realized there were no carts to be found.
I knew the store had them because I saw other people walking around with them, but there was no little queue or kiosk where you could pick them up at the front of the store.
I found a nice lady named Madge who worked there.
“Excuse me, Madge, where do you think I could get a cart?”
“Are they not outside?”
“Oh. I dunno. Let me check.”
I proceed to walk out the exit, look around the corner, and confirm that there were no carts outside.
As I turned around to walk back through the doors I had just walked out, I could see that they were closing. (It was the exit after all.)
To be clear, these were not sliding doors.
They swung out.
Now, I’ve been under the impression that regardless of the signage on the door, they’ll still open no matter what.
The censors will still catch you.
As I’m walking back toward Madge, the doors start closing.
I continue pressing on thinking that they’ll open.
But suddenly, I am caught.
The doors are squeezing my arms into my body and I’m struggling to break free.
And the entire time, I am just looking Madge dead in the eyes.
And she’s looking back at me.
And the doors are still closing.
And there were are…Madge and I…just staring at one another.
“I didn’t see any carts.”
I said as I finally squeezed through, stumbling back toward the register.
We’re still looking at each other.
“Okay, I’ll see if Carlos can fetch you one.”
So I guess if I learned anything from this experience it’s that you might bruise your arms, but regardless of what a door says…it’s still a door.
We’ll all make it through, somehow.