Nope vs. Open
Disclaimer: Any opinions I write about here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Meow Wolf, the company for which I work.
In several areas of the Omega Mart attraction there are doors emblazoned with the image of a hand trying to pull the handle of a door accompanied by the word "NOPE" in prominent lettering. These signs are to let guests know that those doors are off limits.
In our attraction it is genuinely difficult for guests to sometimes figure out where and where not they are permitted to go. For example, when the guests first enter, our space looks like a normal grocery store. Guests soon realize that the store is anything but ordinary. The products are all weird, and guests are encouraged to enter areas that in a normal grocery store, patrons would not be able to go.
First-timers will often tentatively ask if they are able to enter these areas, and we as Creative Operators let them know in our fun and creative ways that yes, they are permitted in those areas.
But there are, of course, areas where only staff members are permitted to go (previously designated with "Staff Only" signs but now adorned with these "NOPE" signs).
We also have emergency exits, which guests are not permitted to use unless there is an emergency. Of course, neither the "Emergency Exit Only" signs nor the "NOPE" or "Staff Only" signs have ever fully deterred guests from trying to see if they lead somewhere cool. The blare of the emergency alarm when guests try to go through the emergency exit certainly embarrasses them, though.
Further complicating matters is that part of the conceit of an interactive game guests play is that they are training to be employees of Omega Mart and its parent company, Dramcorp, so the "Staff Only" signs could be confusing to a guest who is under the impression that he might be part of the staff that would be allowed in those areas.
The "NOPE" signs are no better. Guests still try to enter those areas. It usually takes one of us telling them kindly to move on that stops them.
These "NOPE" signs are fairly new, and as I was looking at the one pictured in the photo above, I thought it interesting that "NOPE" and "OPEN" are anagrams of one another.
In an attraction where puzzles and hidden meanings are quite prominent, I thought, "Well, that could be problematic; some of our guests might actually think "NOPE" means "OPEN."
But I thought what a metaphor that is for life. When someone tells you "Nope," does that really mean the door is closed or that there isn't another door available to you somewhere else?
[For the record, at Omega Mart "NOPE" actually does mean no access, and having seen most of the areas behind the "NOPE" doors, you will be largely unimpressed by anything that currently lies behind those doors. So if you come to Omega Mart and see a "NOPE" sign, just move on. Really.]
Sometimes, too, in life, when a door we really wish would be open and available to us but which we can't pass through, we find out later that it turned out to be a good thing that we weren't able to open that door.
Other times, people tell us we can't or shouldn't open a door we would like to walk through, and those naysayers can either convince us not to or make us even more determined than ever to do so.
I remember after I chose to be with Isaias and settled into my life with him, I wrote a song called "The Path," which included these lyrics:
I found the door they always said would lead to my demise,
And when I pulled it open, what a sight beheld my eyes;
A realm so filled with joy and wonder, much to my surprise.
I found it all on the path.
Some doors aren't meant to be open. Some doors are better left unopened. And others need to be opened no matter what anyone tells you, sometimes moreso when they tell you you can't or shouldn't open them.
But honest, don't try to open the "NOPE" doors at Omega Mart. Those ones are inaccessible for good reason.