The automatic door opener on my apartment's front door decided to become processed this weekend. Perhaps it is Regan being a bad influence. Regardless of cause, the thing started opening the door repeatedly without provocation or encouragement from me.
This was a tad unnerving. It was also extremely frustrating, as this is the mechanism that was repaired to the tune of $1000 a month ago.
I turned it off - blessedly, there is a key that can turn off the mechanism - and called first thing Monday morning for a repair. Within a few hours, a service guy appeared accompanied by a young man who was maybe 19 or so. It turns out it was service guy’s son who is following in his father's footsteps, apprenticing to learn to fix automatic doors. From my point of view, a most laudable career goal.
They tinkered around for a while, replacing the strike - the doohickey that lets go of the latch to open the door when a button is pushed - and looking at the wiring in the box above my door. Suddenly, Service Guy gets an idea, doublechecks and indeed, it appears he has found the problem. The strike operates on AC voltage, but my automatic door opener operates on DC.
I don’t know what that means, I say, waving my hand in a "don't worry" gesture. I just know the band. Service Guy gets it. Service Guy’s Son looks blank. I smile to myself about generational tastes in music and the moment passes.
The difference in voltage appears to be the cause of the symptoms of possession, so I need a new strike and a rectifier installed between my mechanism and the strike to translate the voltage from AC to DC or vice versa.
As an aside, I’d love to have a rectifier for so many things. Can you imagine a world where you can solve say, communication breakdown merely by installing a rectifier? World peace would be imminent.
Service Guy goes to his truck to get the part, leaving his son blocking my door so the cat doesn't get out. Since I'm in the hallway for the same purpose and it would be weird for us to just stand there, I engage him in conversation. We end up talking about his choice of profession which he admits can be somewhat confusing at times. I mention that is not too straightforward - any good repair person has to be a bit of a MacGyver. I then remember that the kid was likely in diapers when the show was on and ask if he knows the show.
"Oh yes," he says, "my grandma used to watch it."
I spent the rest of the day calling everyone whippersnappers.