Ever so often, we have to find a way to make things easier for ourselves. When I first joined college, I was bunked in a room which I had to share with two others. The room was conveniently located in the ground floor of the hostel complex, which although seems nice on paper, has a few disadvantages, the most glaring of which was the looming security issue.
As such, it was only a matter of common sense to keep the door bolted whenever someone was present in the room and locked from outside when no one was. For normal people, this won’t be a problem, but with our trio of lazy chaps, it meant every time someone knocked on the door, one of us had to get up and unlock the latch. At this point, I must mention that our city had pretty strong wind currents, so keeping the door closed without locking it wasn’t an option, as the wind would blow the door wide open.
This presented a unique challenge of its own. “Why should I open the door if the visitor has come to see you?” was often the topic of our heated arguments. Further, there were times when the person who had come to visit was the common friend of all three of us, making it even more difficult for us to decide whose lazy ass would walk all the way to the door.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
One of my roommates was a pretty smart guy. He actually thought it over and analyzed the latch that was on the top of the door. He realized that the latch was a bit loose. Even if it was shut, one could shake the door for about half an inch or so because of the slight gap between the bolt and the padding.
He noticed if one kept the holder of the bolt of the door only slightly to the left after locking, the person from the outside could shake the door in order to move the holder to a horizontal position upon which it would fall to the bottom of the latch, hence unlocking the door.
Of course, this didn’t work if the holder was pushed all the way to the left, or anywhere to the right, in which case you would just keep shaking the door like an idiot.
This little invention of ours saved us a lot of trips to the door. Whenever someone would knock, one of us would shout STRATEGY loudly. If the person was friendly, he’d already know about the trick and shake the door open. If he didn’t, well, then one of us would have to move to open the door or shout the instructions of opening the door to them.
Soon enough, most of our friends knew this little trick about our room. We wouldn’t even need to shout anymore, and in fact, if someone was coming in, we would get an intimation beforehand because of the noise of the shaking. We only hard latched the bolt while going to sleep at night.
All said and done, this ‘marvel of engineering’ of ours, or rather, my friend’s, helped us create a facade of a closed room, while also serving as an invitation for our friends and acquaintances, and to this day, serves as a pleasant memory and a gentle reminder that any problem in life, big or small, can be solved with a little bit of “Strategy”.