It looks like an ordinary door, which it is, in a way. It’s beige. It’s made of ordinary materials. It has no architectural flourishes. It has no signage, nothing that reads “Private” or “Restricted” or anything like that. It doesn’t even have a special lock. Any of those things would cheapen its importance. Whispers carry more weight than bullhorns.
It is well understood that only The Few are permitted to go through The Door. So don’t stare at it too long or they’ll call you envious. Don’t ever sneer at it or they’ll call you disgruntled. You’ll lose the urge to either stare or sneer or even acknowledge The Door once you know its secret.
You can judge people around here by how they react to The Door.
A lug that uses a sentence like, “I have to go through The Door now” is a Nouveau. They flaunt their newly won status. They rub it in. They’re a dime a dozen. “I have to go through The Door now,” means, “My discourse with you is at an end now; I have more important things to do.” But see, the speaker put on unnecessary airs. She telegraphed The Door’s importance, and by extension her own. Someone really important does not need to mention the sacred portal by name. Someone really important would simply say, “I have to go through now.” Or better yet, she would just turn and go without saying a word.
Now don’t confuse Silent Starers with those that go through without speaking. Silent Starers are a variation of the Nouveau. They don’t say anything, but impart their importance via body language. Their eyes look around before going through The Door, making sure that they are being seen. They also tend to turn the handle and open The Door real slowly. You want to yell at them “go through it already” except of course that would give them the very attention that they crave. You don’t want to feed their egos.
Prissy brown-nosers are the next most common type. They buzz around The Door like TIE fighters around the Death Star. They aren’t any better than you, but they act like it. Prissy brown-nosers gain entry through The Door on the coattails of others. They take them their waters, coffee, and tea. They bring through their pastries and schnapps. They can’t stay in The Realm beyond The Door for long, because they really don’t belong there, but that doesn’t stop them from gloating over their “special status.” Each of them makes going through The Door a ritual. They pause. They turn their heads just so. They pinch their little mouths into a ball. They arch their eyebrows and look down their noses. You know, the whole shtick. Prissy brown-nosers are worse than the Nouveau – at least the Nouveau really can go through The Door – but there aren’t as many of them.
Then there are the Colonels. Some call them the Sergeant Majors. They are the old duffers, the ones that have been around forever and a day. For all you know, they may well have built the damn Door. Unlike the Nouveau, they have no pretensions to air. So they can actually be quite jolly and nice, on their own terms. They joke. They laugh. They make small chat. Some even listen. A few of them do, but not many. But they live with The Door at the core of their being. For them, you’re on one side of The Door or the other. Period. It’s a ‘natural order’ sort of thing for them. They tolerate the Nouveau, sometimes grooming them to be future Colonels, but they despise the prissy brown-nosers. You hear stories of how prissy brown-nosers are put in their place by being asked by a Colonel “so, what are you doing here?”
It’s usually a Nouveau’s brown-noser that breaks etiquette by going through The Door at his master’s beckoning. That’s where the Nouveau and the Colonels have their divide. For a Nouveau, it adds status to have “their people” serve them in the Inner Sanctum beyond The Door. Such thinking is too far outside the comfort zone of most Colonels.
Only one in a thousand is an honest person. He goes through The Door without power walking, heel clicking, strutting, or swaggering. He goes through hunched over, the burdens of the past and the demands of the future on his shoulders, briefcase in tow. He may even give you a ‘what’s up’ head tilt, remembering that once upon a time he sat at the desk you sit at. This sort of person is the only one who knows the secret of The Door.
What’s the secret? The honest person realizes that the goalposts are always on the move. The door he came through to get to The Door used to be The Door. He realizes that beyond The Door is yet another Door that is still barred to him, despite his so-called status. He realizes that The Door is only an illusion of power, that in fact there is no Door.
He realizes that those with the real power don’t need to go through The Door or come anywhere near it.
© 2013, gar. All rights reserved.