Forbidden spaces


What is it about places you can’t get in? What is it about a locked door that compels us to know what is inside?

Maybe it is a remnant of childhood, when locks kept us off the basketball court, and closed cabinets kept us out of the cookies. I don’t know, but it makes for some powerful temptation.

Take Ready Rooms, for example. Unless you are in the squadron you aren’t welcome. We on the outside suspect – but don’t know for sure – what goes on behind those doors.

The SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) is probably the worst. Nobody gets in there. All we hear is the music wafting out from behind the vault. There is something happening in there, but because the place is always locked, we can only guess what it might be.

There doesn’t have to be a door, of course, to beckon us. The blue tile sections of a ship – the areas where Admirals tread – are protected by angry signs that forbid entry to all but the chosen elite. Such warnings draw us in like moths to a flame.

Perhaps the most forbidding barriers, though, belong to the Command element – the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer. The idea of approaching (let alone knocking on) a door belonging to the Skipper or XO frightens us like a Freddy Krueger movie. And yet, just like a horror movie we are pulled in, in spite of ourselves.

But then one day I found myself on the other side. I became a Commanding Officer looking at the closed door from the inside. And you know what I discovered?

All I wanted to do was see what was on the other side.


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