We’ve had a lot of visitors in the building at work. The project we’re working on is nearing a phase where some of it (actually a tip of the proverbial iceberg) is getting shown to the customer. This means that there are a lot of people coming and going, many visitor passes being passed out (Terry at the front desk says that they are actually beginning to run out of them), and the cafeteria is running out of most items at around 12:15. Not that I’m a big fan of the cafeteria, but usually the choice that they run out of first is the most edible one. The other day I took a bite of what they called a ‘Philly Cheese Steak’ and couldn’t bear to take another, because it was so awful (bits of burned scraps from the grill and who knows what else seemed to be sticking to it).
There has been one other change, a subtle one: It’s the front door, or rather the door to the first floor offices right from the lobby. It’s not so much the door, as what the door does when you swipe your ID card on it. Up until this week, when you swiped your card, it opened the lock with a short click, and also played a short a recording of a riff on a vibraphone, like an announcement that someone was coming in. It was a curious feature that I’d never seen on a door, but the closest thing I can say it was like, was the ‘doorbell’ on The Jetsons, that sometimes didn’t so much act as a doorbell, but a sort of announcement as the guest or family member appeared on that ever-present moving sidewalk (not the one where George gets stuck on shouting ‘Jane, Stop this Crazy thing!’ with Astro and the cat looking on at the end, but then if you’re with me so far, you know that already.)
I don’t know why the sound is gone, and haven’t asked. Maybe so many people were coming and going that the tune was disrupting meetings (there is a futuristic semi-circular meeting room near that door, before the main part of the floor). Perhaps they will reinstate the entry-tune after the rash of visitors is over.
It did, however, get me to thinking: What if the door played a different tune depending on the person whose ID card was swiped on it. If a bigwig executive was entering, it could play ‘Hail to the Chief’, or someone shouting: ‘Captain on the Bridge!’. It could work like those butlers in the movies, announcing guests as they arrive at some fancy party: “The Duke and Duchess of Freedonia!”.
If I had my choice as to what that door would play when I came in each morning, I think I’d want it to play something matching my mood. If I was a good mood, I’d have it play something like the crowd of people shouting “Norm!” (from Cheers), or that round of applause that came when Kramer would enter Jerry’s door in Seinfeld. (Why did they start doing that anyway?). If I was in a bad mood, I think the best choice would be the March of Darth Vader (You know, dum dum dum — dum di dum, dum di dum… I’m not going to bother with notation or even an audio excerpt.)
In a way, the entrance of someone could be just like an extension of ringtones. I recently found out that people spend $5 billion a year on ringtones. (To quote David Pogue: What the?) If we could spend part of our paycheques on having the right entrance music when we enter our workplace, would we?
Update: A Designer came up with a more low-tech solution, but it requires some skill on the part of the person knocking the door.