Straphanger Joe Needs to be More Assertive

Holding Doors for Osho


I’m about to enter Roosevelt Station at 74th Street just as a woman is about to exit.


I open the door before she even puts her hands up to push against it. I pull hard on the handle then hold the heavy frame while she exits.


She doesn’t look at me. She walks through, not even attempting to hold the door or even pretend to push it open further. She walks by me and dissolves into the crowd surrounding the taco stand.


I take a step forward but two more people run to the exit and I step back to let them out, still holding the door. Now there’s a line of five or six commuters rushing towards me and, trapped in place I hold the door for all of them, one after the other.


Two look at me and nod. The rest pretend I’m a doorman and exit. Finally the last person leaves and I’m about to take a step forward to enter the station. I swing the door open again and a woman tries to pass me on the inside track. The street light changed on 74th and Roosevelt and I can see a crowd of commuters swarming across the street behind her. I say, “Excuse me,” and enter, placing my left side in front of her – without body contact – but I keep the door open with a final push as I go by so she won’t get hit by it as she follows me.


As I push the door open I can see her face, an annoyed look imprinted there. A short “huh,” sound emerges from her open mouth.


This is not the first time this has happened to me and probably won’t be the last. I am amazed at the way people assume you will hold a door for them and just go through it, without even an attempt at holding it themselves — no acknowledgment, no nothing.


Now Osho (philosopher and spiritual leader, TJ, in case you were wondering) would say, do good things for others because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want to be thanked for it (ie: for the glory).


“Osho, Osho, Osho,” I would say. “You haven’t ridden on the New York subway. It’s about respect, not acknowledgement. I simply needed someone to stop and let me enter so I didn’t have to cut someone else off to get inside.”


What this leads me to believe is that it’s better not to hold the door for anyone. Either that or I need to bring a tin cup with me and ask for money while I’m holding it.

–Joe Lunievicz

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