The following sign was just installed on one of the doors in the building where I work:
My first reaction was to snigger at the idea of someone installing a sign to warn people that a door performs the function it was designed for – “Oh, it’s one of those opening doors? Fancy bastards…”
My fourth reaction was, therefore, to be a little depressed…
My second reaction was confusion, since this sign is on the side of the door that opens outwards – if the actual warning is that the door might be opened into your face, why would they put it on the side where that isn’t a danger?
My third reaction was understanding – it’s not “caution: opening door”; it’s “(take) caution (when) opening door”. The sign isn’t there for my safety; it’s there to encourage me to be mindful of the safety of whoever might be standing on the other side of the door when I open it, on the grounds that it’s a door and not a gossamer curtain. If space and honesty permitted, the warning would be better worded:
“CAUTION – YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET. ACTUAL LIVING, FEELING PEOPLE ARE PRESENT OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE OF YOUR AWARENESS AND YOU RUN THE RISK OF DAMAGING THEM IF YOU BLAST THROUGH THIS WINDOWLESS PORTAL LIKE A WOUNDED ANIMAL. ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOU GIVE FOUR-FIFTHS OF A FUCK IF ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL SUFFERS HARM DUE TO YOUR ACTIONS, MAYBE YOU WANT TO BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU OPEN THIS DOOR.
My fourth reaction was, therefore, to be a little depressed about the fact that the world is such that people need pictorial reminders to be considerate of others. As I said, this sign was new – presumably it was put there after repeated cases of people having this door interfere with their faces.
Fortunately, my fifth reaction was to notice how how suitable for Photoshoppery the whole thing was:
So that’s all better then.