Take a look at this picture of my front door and see if you notice anything odd about it:
That’s right, there’s no doorknob – on either side! I’m not sure if this is standard, but I’ve seen it on way too many doors for it to be a one-off. Karen and Connor said they also experienced the no-knob wonder on many doors during their European travels this summer.
Adrian doesn’t really understand my confusion and annoyance at this. Nevermind that it’s annoying because you have to contort your hand in a funky manner to get a grip of it if it’s a heavy door like the door to our building. A lot of doors will have a full handle, but it’s still very awkward and the dynamics of the pushing eventually causes the handles to be pulled out of the doors as we experienced in our last house.
Here is the best part of many English and probably European houses: Even if you are part of the elite and you have a doorknob, if someone locks it from the outside and for whatever reason you don’t have your key (say, your sister took it), you are trapped inside and your only way out is to jump out the second-floor window. Or hope someone comes home before you need to leave and also that there is no fire during that time.
Now, I’m not saying Americans are better than Brits in general, but in this instance I’d say yes, we are. It’s not like they haven’t heard of the doorknob, no, they are very much aware of it. Whereas we relegate all of their TV and movies to one channel, BBC America, their culture is permeated with American crap – TV, movies, products, sayings, etc. They’ve seen the doorknob.
If you still aren’t convinced that the doorknob is an essential utility for daily convenience and safety, then consider the fact that you are also missing out on an essential joke.
“Man, he’s/she’s been around … like a doorknob.”