Sabbatical 2012 [Sidenote] Bathroom Doors, Teflon Tape, and Slamming Car Doors


Alex and I couldn’t help but notice for the first two weeks that not a single one of the bathroom doors in all of our accommodations worked without issue. Either the door would get stuck once you closed it and you’d have to push all your body weight to open it. Or the door wouldn’t close properly, and you’d have to slam it shut. Or the lock would stick and sound like a gunshot when you open it. All of this is rather annoying when you’re sharing a small room with somebody and don’t want to wake them in the middle of the night.

Please, lets fix those doors.

Teflon Tape

It also seemed that none of these places have discovered Teflon tape for plumbing. Every single shower head leaked around the sides, spraying either the bather, the wall, the ceiling, the tile, the floor – what have you. I think that our hotel in São Paulo may have been the first to have a shower head that only sprayed where it was intended to spray.

Car Doors

I had forgotten about this part of traveling abroad. Americans have a terrible habit about slamming car doors. I got yelled at by numerous Venezuelans about this when studying abroad there, and never really thought I had actually shut them hard in the slightest.

When taking a cab in Buenos Aires, I got in and closed the door. The driver turned around and said (in Spanish) “Sure its closed?”. I opened the door and slammed it harder. Apparently, though, his first statement was sarcasm. “If you do that again I’ll get out of the car and show you how to close the door”

Venezuela flashbacks immediately came back. I felt terrible. I saw little stickers on the cab’s window saying to gently close the door. Obviously, this guy had a pet peeve and I pushed his buttons.

I gave him a nice tip when paying, feeling bad about the whole misunderstanding and apologized for slamming the door. He asked why foreigners do that, and I explained that our older American cars weren’t made quite as well as the cars they have, and often required being shut harder in order to ensure that they locked. Furthermore, with cold weather the weather-stripping would harden and rot, and the metal would rust. I appeased him by saying his brand of car was better than our Fords.

Again, I apologized for slamming the door, got out of the car…

and slammed the door.

What an ass. Some habits are hard to break.

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