Monday, November 3, 2014

First Word: Ellen Hawkins: Door


The paneled door opens only to those who know the password. This code is unique to that door but similar stumbling blocks bar entry to every other room in the house. Each code must have at least six alphanumeric digits and each door must have its very own password. No sharing. The result, for some of us, is life in a very small room. All the doors along its four walls are closed, their passwords long since forgotten.
            But being rational, or at least once considered not un-clever, you know it’s acceptable to create passwords that link to one another by changing the first or last character of each code as you make your way from door to door. So, for instance, if the password of door # 1 is FGT123, you can name door # 2 FGT124. Or you may opt for AGT123 followed by BGT123. And so on. Working on the premise that you are forgetful, though not yet entirely doolally, you may make a note of these codes and store the information in a safe place: a desk drawer, a notebook perhaps—a red one or a green one or one with a plastic cover—so that you’ll have it handy whenever you want to change rooms.
            By the time you’ve had your breakfast, which may involve going from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen several times, you will have forgotten which password belongs to which door. This may mean that you spend the morning in bed or cleaning the fridge.  You may as easily spend it looking for the booklet or folder, whose cover is either yellow or blue or possibly striped. If luck is on your side—happily, luck has a free pass—you may stumble upon the password of the door of the room in which you’re currently imprisoned, which will then allow you to leave the building. (NB: This is never a good idea.)
            If you missed that warning, you’ll likely find yourself on the street, half dressed and clutching a purple folder. It will be raining. Dogs will sniff your ankles. You will have forgotten your keys to the house, naturally, but you have one thing clear in your mind: that the last digit of the password that will take you back to the safety of your bedroom is 3.

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