Flashback Friday: Revolving Doors

Growing up in Salem, Oregon, I always loved visiting the Oregon State Capitol Building. It’s grandeur and uniqueness compared to the rest of the architecture I was used to made it an adventure every time. I loved how each room, carving, picture, hallway, and even light fixtures had names and stories that came with them.

I loved going at Christmas time in particular because the pale marble got a splash of contrast in the form of dark red poinsettias around the seal and up the stairs, and the towering tree and intricate train set in one corner. As a teen I sang in choirs invited to perform on the capitol steps for various occasions, and even observed a legislative session or two.

But my earliest memory of that building is learning how to go safely through the revolving doors at the main entrance, still my favorite way to enter a building ever. Somehow the novelty and rarity of this brilliantly conceived contraption gives buildings an elegant futuristic air, in my mind.

Neither Prada nor Greta shared my appreciation fo revolving doors, though. Even as I. Learned to navigate them at a young age, so did they. But the wonder I experienced can’t compare with the bizarreness of being chased by an inanimate object whose mouth you have to squeeze in and out of to get out of the rain!

Original Post Date: 6/10/20009

After our Bootie adventure, we found our way to a building in Morristown that boasted revolving doors. As usual, the dogs have gone through them already. The purpose of the exercise is to remind the dogs of the procedure and teach the students how to support their partners in the harrowing environment of human civilization.

The procedure is somewhat technical, so like in this Post I’ll use hypothetical service dog Juno to explain how a dog guide can safely pass through the maw of a building that takes itself very seriously.

Step One: Enter Stage Right
Upon approaching a revolving door, drop the harness and pass the leash behind you to your right hand. Juno will follow the pressure of the leash and move Unwillingly to your right side.

extend your left hand palm forward until you feel the moving surface of the door beneath it. Let your palm rest lightly on that surface so you know the instant the opening faces you.

Step Two: Dive! Dive!
Heel Juno forward into the aperture, keeping her head pointed right into the moving junction between the wall and the moving door. That way she and all her vaguely wagging appendages stay as far ahead of the pursuing door as possible, and you’ll know by her desperate dive out into the opening beyond when it is safe to advance out of the door chamber.

Step Three: Keep Walking
Once all six feet (well, two feet and four paws) are clear of the door chamber, switch the leash back to your left hand, scoop up the handle, pet and praise Juno for her fine daring in braving the bizarre, and carry on with your day.

Some might argue that the rarity of such doors makes it a waste of time to train on them. After all, you can’t possibly train for everything, so why not include a different, more every-day kind of experience?

Well, that’s only partially right. Revolving doors are only common in courthouses and state houses, the occasional self-important bank, and the Portland International Airport. But that means that anyone with a career in law, justice, politics, social work, government, business, or similar profession might have to encounter revolving doors quite frequently.

It shouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a blind lawyer, or even a judge or legislator. And even disregarding all of that, there are regular trips to get ID photos taken, and plenty of other civic activities that every citizen deserves easy access to. Rarity does not necessarily mean unnecessary, or unimportant. Every person ought to be able to freely walk through every door set in front of them.

Today we bid farewell to all the retrains. They and their dogs headed back to their respective homes, while we rookies have another week of training ahead of us. I greatly appreciated hearing their stories of success and struggle and problem-solving; it greatly enriched my training experience, and I hope I offer as much to future rookies when I attain the rank of Retrain, myself.

This week your favorite blindfluencer asks you to take time to savor a childhood memory of learning a new skill that still inspires you with delight today. Share in the comments below.

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