An Ode to the Door

A rectangular surface made out of wood (plywood, or regular wood if you like), metal (if you’re awfully sensible of your valuables being stolen, or if you happen to live in an old castle), or glass (if you’re not that interested in privacy, and would like the area to look ‘open’ and ‘spacious’). Most of the time they have hinges on one side, allowing for easy opening by handles somewhere at a convenient height. Sometimes they slide. Sometimes, they even slide open for you; all that is required of you is that you stand in front of it, in just the right spot.

The concept of doors is old, very old. We’ve had them in one shape or another basically since we’ve had houses made of walls and a roof.

Doors are interesting.

Not only can they be used as a metaphor for just about anything, they have also provided us with countless practices that are invaluable in these times: what else can you slam during an angry shouting match that will make your entire house jump from fright, yet most of the time won’t actually destroy anything? I shudder to think what kind of adult I would have become had I not been provided with ample doors to slam as a teenager. Imagine how childish you’ll look when, during a fight with someone else (housemate, parent, significant other, the pastor), you want to make a point: you don’t care about what they’re saying (your point was obviously better, truer, the only point that matters, really), and you don’t have any doors around that you can close as forcibly as you can. What else will you do? Throw a plant around the room? Smash a bag of tangerines, one by one, underneath your foot? Rip out the pages of their favourite books? All satisfying, I am sure, but much less quick, the clean-up is downright annoying, and the shouting-partner is now much less assured of being understanding of your temporary brattiness than if you’d just slammed the door real good.

Where there are doors, one understands that there are also walls. They close off one room to the other, inherently allowing the person closing them some privacy. As a child, I had a friend whose father was one of those handymen. He’d fully stripped the house some years earlier, and had slowly started small projects across the building. Doors were low on his priority list; the children slept with curtains hung in the door opening from when I met them at age 9 until the last time I visited their house, now an angry teenager.

Doors, then, are amazing. They provide us with a barrier not just against the outside world, but also from one room to the next. Without them, our dramatic exits will be so much less dramatic, our fights so much less petty, our explorations of our bodies so much more awkward. These positives of doors are not some major secret. Their existence and practicalities are not well hidden, only unveiled to you after you’ve gone through the seven steps of opening up your chakra, and the accompanying webinar.

They are right there.

And yet, doors are disappearing on us. The ‘us’ I am speaking of, here, is the ‘us’ that we, young people, are made up of. Young people who studied in major cities, and happened to quite like those cities, built up a social network there, and would like to build up an actual future there. Unless you have spectacularly rich parents who still like you enough to fund the next step in your life, or have created an app that will cure cancer, you will most likely not be provided with the privilege of an affordable door.

If you would like a living space with at least two rooms (and so hopefully at least a few doors) in Utrecht at the time of writing, you will either rent two very affordable garage boxes that are side by side, or dish out at least €800,- for a very small living room and a room that could be a closet, but will also hold your bed. Housing prices are rising across the world, and are creating a market in which even average starter homes are now being sold for prices that would get you a small villa 20 years ago. In most countries and cities, the minimum and average wage of the inhabitants has not grown along with this trend.

The waiting lists for affordable housing are incredibly long in this country (often spanning at least 10 years), and the new apartments being built are either insanely expensive, or incredibly small.

I want doors.

I want doors and when I slam them I want to then not be in a cramped bathroom as that is the only room in my apartment that has the privilege of one. I want doors and when I slam them I want to annoy the neighbours instead of the cows in the field next to me. I want doors so that I do not sleep and eat in the same place. I want a door between my bedroom and my bathroom (odd that I have to say this, I know, but a friend of mine is not awarded with this privilege in her very expensive, and very tiny apartment). I want doors so that I’ll be able to paint it a horrible shade of lilac to annoy my partner when they’re out (like my mother did when she was angry with my father). I want doors to slam and to open up again, looking sheepishly at the other and saying a soft ‘sorry’.

I want doors, damnit.

By Juul Kruse

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