Were you born in a barn? - Denese Rodgers

Before everyone had air conditioners, we all had screened doors. In theory, screened doors let the cool air in, and kept the bugs out. In reality, there was always a kid, like me, running inside and outside, and inside and outside.

The idea was to run as fast as I could at the door, hit it hard enough to make it "whang" open and, then, take pleasure in the satisfying "slam," as I cleared the doorway. This whole procedure was usually accompanied by my mom, grandma, and/or neighbors hollering, "Don't you slam that door!"

After we all started getting the spiffy, wall-unit air conditioners, the holler was "Shut the door behind you; were you born in a barn?"

Now that I pay my utility bills (and repair bills), I'm much more sensitive to that whole open-closed-door thing. Open doors invite entry, closed doors indicate exclusion. Open doors mean the air conditioner had better be off. Closed doors means the heat better be on.

Open doors make you want to go in and see what's happening (especially if you can hear some noise). Think about the restaurant that you pass, and you can hear the music wafting out like it is looking just for you.

I get rather tickled at home, since my hubby and I have different door priorities. Left over from my childhood, I can't stand for a closet door to be open. It's not a matter of closet monsters, as much as it is the mess. If I can't see the mess, then it doesn't bother me. This goes hand-in-hand with my stuff-n-slam theory of cleaning house.

My hubby, on the other hand, will leave doors open in areas that he uses frequently, i.e. the laundry closet. But he likes to close the door to our spare bedroom. I'm not sure why, maybe it was something in how he was reared. I intentionally got nifty looking furniture for the spare bedroom, so that we would appear trendy (we're not).

And then there's the office where I work outside my home. The exterior doors are not really a problem, since they close automatically and we have a chime on the door. The interior doors are a different matter altogether. The bathroom. If the door stands open, you know the bathroom is available. But lots of our courteous clients close it to be polite. There is no tactful way to knock on the hollow wooden door of our only bathroom and say, "You in there?"

And we have a supply closet. I am the world's worst about leaving that door open, and it is basically a multi-purpose broom closet. It has no aesthetic appeal, and it is the first thing you see when you walk into our office. It doesn't make any sense for me to place a screen in front of it, when all I have to do is close the dang door.

Then, of course, all I have to do is to remember where I've put the key, because I would have forgotten to unlock it before I pulled it shut.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.