“I hate this class”, Sarah muttered.
Neither of the other two girls answered. Mary just pursed her lips and tapped her foot. Rose kept fiddling with the lock.
“It’s useless”, Sarah spoke up louder.
“It’s important”, Rose insisted, fiddling with the lock. “You open doors every day.”
Sarah sniffed. “Yeah, but I learned how to open house doors in the first grade. Advanced door-opening is pointless.”
“Pointless?” Mary gasped. “Sarah, there are some very important jobs that require door-opening knowledge.”
“Of course it’s pointless”, Sara gestured to the lone door frame squatting in the center of the empty classroom. “You can just walk around!”
The door frame creaked a bit as Rose jerked her hand, cursing at another broken lock pick.
“Yeah, well, you aren’t going to find disembodied door frames in real life”, Mary said. “In the real world, doors come attached to walls.”
“Yeah, but in the real world I don’t have to pick locks.”
“What if you lock yourself out of your car?”
“Then I’ll call a locksmith. Or triple-A.”
Mary rolled her eyes. “You can’t just always rely on technology, Sarah. You’ve got to know this sort of stuff.”
“Really?” Sarah raised an eyebrow. “Why? I already know how to open house doors. I’m great at opening car doors. I opened the car door twice on my way to this stupid pointless practice session.”
“And yet I don’t see you breezing through this lock”, Rose muttered, hands busy with a new pick.
“I bet I could pick that lock in two minutes flat”, Sara snapped back. “That doesn’t mean it’s not pointless.”
“But what about military bunkers?” Mary countered. “Or space shuttle hatches?”
“If I ever decide to become an astronaut, maybe then I’ll learn how to open space shuttle hatches.”
Rose snorted. “Yeah, like they’re ever going to accept an astronaut that doesn’t know how to open space shuttle hatches.”
Sarah shrugged. “They can teach me on the job.”
“Then I won’t be an astronaut.”
“We’ve still got to prepare people.”
“It’s stupid and boring and we’re never going to need to know this stuff.”
“Uh, yeah we are”, Mary reminded her. “Anatomy of a Door is on the state exams.”
“Pop quiz”, Rose muttered with sarcasm and spite dripping from her tone. “Essay on how transoms evolved in the last two hundred years.”
“I shouldn’t need to know what a transom is in order to open doors!”
“All right, miss genius”, Mary said. “How would you teach door-opening?”
“I wouldn’t!” she cried. “I mean, sure, we’d still show kids how to open basic doors. Teach them how car handles and doorknobs work. You don’t really need to teach that in a classroom. You can just show them.”
“Yeah, that’s hardly going to help the first time they find a garage door with a remote opener”, Mary said.
“Or one of those old garage doors with a string on it”, Rose chimed. “Those ones are a doozy. And you can’t really teach that to little kids, they’re just not tall enough to open them.”
“So what?” Sara cried. “You teach them to open those doors when they’re tall enough. They can learn as they go along.”
“You think we should spend the first half of shop class teaching kids how to open the garage door?” Rose protested. “That’s not fair to the kids who can already open garage doors by the time they get to shop class.”
“Yeah, and what if they learn the wrong way?” Mary piped up. “What if, like, they come to some double doors and they open the left side instead of the right side?”
“Well, do they still get in the building?”
“Yeah, but it’s not compatible with how everyone else is doing it.”
“They could, like, be going against the traffic –”
“In which case they’ll use the other side next time.”
“Well what if like someone else opens the side that they aren’t used to opening?”
“Then they walk through it. It’s not rocket science.”
“Yeah, but if they didn’t learn to open the left side –”
“They’ll figure it out when they’re put in context! It’s not that hard!”
“Sure, maybe it’s not hard for you”, Rose slammed a hand against the door in frustration as another lock pick broke. “I don’t know what you’re whining about, you’re better at door-opening than all of us.”
“That doesn’t make the class any less stupid!”
“Just because it comes naturally to you doesn’t mean it comes naturally to everyone. Look how many people are failing this class.”
“Yeah, because this class is pointless. Most people don’t pick locks or board space shuttles in their everyday lives.”
“It’s a life skill”, Mary shrugged.
“It is not a life skill! Memorizing all of the different types of doors that the school thinks are important doesn’t teach you anything about really getting yourself from point A to point B. If we just taught people good motor skills, a bit of dexterity, and a touch of cunning then they’ll be able to open any door that’s in their way and they’ll also be able to climb through windows, hop over puddles, and cross bridges.”
“Woah there”, Rose said. “I think you give people too much credit. Those are like, Masters level subjects. At least.”