Thursday, 8 March 2012

Stairs: The Eternal Conundrum

Before you start reading this post, may I offer a small defence. I have not blogged for a while, this one is the by product of me getting back in the saddle. Consequently, it's not my best work, but if you want a small titter, it should suffice. Otherwise, read Oh, there's a bird perched on the shower curtain rail, Maybe next year, or Funny Thing, Infinity. They're much better.


Necessary, functional, ergonomic, simple. But hopelessly flawed. Theoretically, they are fine, I have no problem with them whatsoever. One platform is raised slightly higher and further on than the previous, allowing the user to gain height and distance with every step. Fine.

And yet stairs cause me greater anxiety than any other structure I use (except for mug trees. Mug trees are just silly). The reason for this is simple: steps are never ever ever the right distance apart. Think about it, you know what I'm talking about. They're either too close together, or too far apart, either in terms of height difference or the distance forwards, (which I have decided we shall call progressional distance).

Very often, it is the former. I was at school today, and there is one such staircase. So one finds oneself caught in a quandary. One can either take the conventional method, and go one step at a time. The problem with this is twofold; the next step up is always a bit lower than you expect, and your foot hovers briefly above the step, before plunging down to the level of the actual step, as gravity seizes control of your horribly un-positioned leg. This results in a painful jarring of the knee and spine, and potentially whiplash. Be careful, citizen! (Elf and safety advice; it's a service I provide). The other ill effect is that your ascent is painfully slow using this method. I opted for it earlier today, and found a small child going past me (taking two at a time, of course), releasing an almost undetectable sigh of impatience at me for having held him up. This bruised my pride, given my superior status, but there was nothing I could do. I was in the wrong. I had opted for the wrong stair cllimbing technique, and this was my punishment.

'Well why didn't you just take two at a time?', I hear you cry. And I take your point, I really do. But the reasons why I did not are as follows:
1) A matter of principle. Whoever built and designed this staircase did so in such a way for me to take 1 step at a time. Stair building is not all that well paid, so I should at least pay him the courtesy of climbing them as he intended.
2) It can be difficult to tell whether the stairs are sufficiently close together to opt for the '2 at a time method'. If they are too far apart, you end up having to take enormous steps to cope with the distance. This means your trousers end up half way up your shins, great exertion is required, with you driving fiercely onwards with your thighs, and you end up leaning forwards, doughtily ploughing on like an under-dressed Ranulph Fiennes. It's a risk.
3) You would not take 2 steps at a time when going down so it seems unfair doing it on the way up.

So you see, there really is no way to deal with stairs efficiently, unless the stairs in question are the perfect distance apart. But these stairs, I have come to conclude, can exist only in the garden of Eden, and our fallen humanity makes them impossible.
So until we reach Heaven, the Good Lord has given us one small solace to keep us going.
Stana Stairlifts. The future.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely like the theological reflection on the current issue you are facing!! :)