Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thinking about portals

You know what confuses and angers me? Doorknobs.

Specifically, the turny-latchy things in the middle of them. These things right here:

Take a look at that and answer me one thing: Is the door locked or unlocked?

The answer is "locked," and most readers are now looking at me with a "Yes, and your point is...?" expression. My point is this:

It doesn't make any goddamn sense.

What does a door -- specifically, a door that would use a knob like this -- look like? Why, it's a rectangle of course, taller than it is wide. In fact, it looks an awful lot like... the latch in the locked position.

But when that knob is unlocked, what does it look like? Why, a crossbar of course. Something which bars entry. A circle with a horizontal line through it looks to me like the universal "Do Not Enter" symbol.

So when the door is unlocked, every bit of symbol-recognition in my brain is telling me that the door is locked. And when it's locked, it looks like a door, and when we think of doors we think of going through them, ergo my brain tells me it's unlocked. Therefore, every time I'm presented with a knob like this, my brain screeches to halt as it goes, "Hmm, that looks like a 'don't enter' symbol, which would mean it's locked. But because I know doorknobs are screwed up and make no sense, I need to reverse that, so that means it's open. Right? I think so. But now that I've thought about it so much, I'm starting to doubt myself, like when I misspell a word and then I look up the correct spelling and everything seems wrong. You know what, my only option here is to grab the knob and find out for myself."

How do you people deal with this? How does this NOT make you mental? I know I'm not the most logical of persons, but this time my argument makes waaaaay more sense than any explanation you can come up with regarding why "horizontal" means "open."

Since I can't change the orientation of doorknobs in my house -- and even if I could, that would really mess me up in the outside world -- what I've done is taken some red and green paint, and put a thin bar of red on the top of the knob and a thin bar of green on the side, because as we all know, green means "go" and red means "stop." I have used color symbolism to defeat object symbolism.

Of course, red is now forever associated with "up" in my mind, but I can deal with that. At least I'm not crazy like you people.

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