The doors of our recently purchased home have a nasty habit of slamming shut from the wind, creating a thunderous clap in the process. Our sweet rescue pup, Roxie, is not a fan. She trembles profusely out of fear whenever this door slamming event takes place.
For the sake of Roxie, my wife purchased two door stop options with the intention of returning the one that did not adequately suit our needs. One option was simply too short, and did not serve its sole purpose – to hold the door open. The door briskly passed over it on its gleeful path towards its booming collision. The second option was gray, elastomeric, wedge shaped. It functioned well, holding the door ajar with no issues. Problem solved. We could move on to one of the many other issues plaguing our new home. The leaky windows, perhaps.
But there was a problem. This particular door stop was just too… ordinary. Sure, it served its primary objective well, and I’m confident that millions of its identical siblings were serving their purpose well around the world. One objective. One design. Slamming doors around the globe silenced. The founders of the Bauhaus are smiling in their graves.
Everyday things provide the means by which we are able to complete normal, utilitarian tasks without pause. They help us prepare our meals, organize our closets, clean our bodies, go about our daily life with ease and efficiency. We recognize them immediately, and use them without thought. This is how ordinary things operate, subconsciously. Ordinary things are good at what they do. And nothing else.
With most of these ordinary things, we simply use them and move on. With others, we crave the interaction with an almost primal hunger. We use them constantly and mindlessly. Cell phones, for example. There is a common theme with all ordinary objects: the experience is purely a one-way experience. The object performs the job it was designed to do, sometimes well and sometimes poorly. We interact with the object thoughtlessly while contemplating other topics – our day, our obligations, our commitments. When the object no longer performs the job well, we fix it or replace it. Most of the time, we replace it.
Ordinary objects are easily replaceable.
I’m tired of ordinary objects. I’m bored with the relationship. I’m annoyed that millions of other people have identical objects occupying their space. And I’m disappointed, because I know the relationship could be so much more. When everyone’s everyday objects are all the same their potential to inspire is lost. Their ability to spark conversations, to open our eyes to more interesting alternatives, and to become a more meaningful part of our lives is gone.
I want more. More interesting things. More creative solutions. More alternatives. I want to see something and be provoked to respond. “That’s interesting” would be perfectly acceptable. I want to be surrounded by more thoughtful things, things that make me pause, reflect, think. Things that make me feel, react, or respond emotionally. I want to walk through life with an uncanny interest in everything that surrounds me. I believe more interesting everyday things might make this possible.
I told my wife we couldn’t keep the wedge of plastic. “Fine, you can find one yourself,” was her reply. Roxie now refuses to walk past our office door, and I’m in search of a more interesting door stop. Please contact me if you have any recommendations.