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Car Doors

People want to be helpful, and I appreciate that. Sometimes, though, I get more help than I want—or need. Case in point: getting in and out of cars. Some well-meaning souls seem to think operating a car door is too complicated for someone with limited vision. The truth is, it’s one of the few things that are still just as easy for me to do as before.

Well, almost, that is. Sometimes I open the back door when I mean to open the front passenger door. Oops. It takes me a split second to realize my error and another split second to locate the front door handle. It usually takes the drive a nanosecond to say, “That’s the back door!” as if opening it would detonate a car bomb. Depending on how well we know each other, I might come back with something like, “Oh, I thought you wanted to make out.”

There are those who think they need to open the door for me, hand me the seat belt, and close the door for me. I’ve had some try to fasten the seat belt for me, which makes me want to ask for my sippy cup and binky. Maybe have them pop a Barney CD in the stereo.

Getting into a car is so easy you could do it with your eyes closed. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime. After years of getting in and out of them, you’ll find things are usually in the same place in all cars. Swing the door open. Use your free hand to locate the seat. Lower your derriere onto the seat. Bring your legs in. Reach for the door and pull it closed. You’ll find the seat belt is in the same place on virtually every automobile, though some are more convenient to grab hold of than others. Ditto the part in the crevice of the seat. Some are deep down in there, some are on a stem-like apparatus that practically meets you halfway. Now you can open your eyes, especially if you’re in the driver’s seat. Wasn’t that easy?

Let me do it myself. If I need help, I’ll ask for it.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in someone’s car waiting for them to load something in the back before giving me a lift home. A woman was talking to me while I had the passenger door open, letting the car air out after being closed up for several hours. I was enjoying one of the first warm days of spring. The fresh air revived me after a day-long writer’s conference inside. Without warning, she pushed the door shut. Fortunately, I hadn’t picked that moment to stick an arm or leg out of the car. Apparently, she thought I not only couldn’t do it myself, but was incapable of deciding if/when I wanted it shut. In the long run, she made things difficult for me, because I tried to open the door again but couldn’t locate the latch to open it. That is one of the things about car doors that have gotten more complicated, not just for me, but for most people. These days, it might be up next to the window or all the way down by the floorboard. The driver got in and started the car before I ever found it and we drove home with the windows open while I tried to get over the irritation of having a simple decision made for me.

When in doubt, just ask. When you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME (but mostly U)