Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obvious, Blinding Glimpse of

I visited someone in their office building today--it's a nice building and nearly new (= less than twenty years old) with that pressure blasted formed concrete exterior that taggers see as a challenge and a taunt and folks my age see as a 'nice' building. You can park in his company's lot just around the corner and walk and hardly ever step in any dog poop on the sidewalk, which is especially nice if you're barefoot (I wasn't but it was still nice) and rarely encounter any homeless, or as I've heard them called recently, 'urban indigents.' I wonder if the homeless were all perfectly attired and impeccably coiffed would we then call them urbane indigent? Careful where you step.

From the sidewalk it's a climb of nine thick, high steps--when you have bad knees and killer math skills like I do, you pick up on this stuff right away. Normal height of a step into a building from a public venue is seven inches, trust me on this one, and usually, at least in homes, for interior stairways it's more like six inches and has been for the last forty years or so (it was closer to five inches when our parents were our age, but all those vitamins and the fluoride in the water have made us taller and as a result a lot quiet changes in our environment have been made to accommodate the new and improved homo sapiens, of which we are the more recent models . Shows what you conspiracy theorists know! All those CIA plots did help some of us.)

As for width, or depth from the base of the next step to the ledge on the one you're on, about seven inches is average. These steps were closer to twelve inches tall and at last fourteen inches deep--the kind of steps that tempt you to try, but not gracefully or successfully, to take them two at a time. Instead you walk like a toddler, always almost teetering and tottering but never quite falling over. Not an Everest ascent but not pleasant either.

At the top, two signs flank the two glass doors that open out onto a relatively short landing (which, I assume, if you have packages in your arms as you're exiting could help you tumble down the nine stairs) and the signs note "No Handicap Access" in white letters with a little pictogram of a person in a wheelchair. I'm sure there's a mandate, municipal, state or federal that requires these signs. I don't think anyone in a wheelchair is sprawled on the sidewalk, perhaps being righted by one of those urbane indigents of whom I wrote a moment ago, dusting her/him self off and readying another assault up the stairs.

The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been, when you make the right coming out of the parking lot, instead of turning left to get back into the flow of traffic, if someone had put the 'Dead End' sign at the end of the cul-de-sac instead of at the beginning. Makes me wonder if the movie didn't say 'The End' would we all be found dead in darkened cinemas, surrounded by boxes of half-eaten, over-priced Milk Duds and flat soda?
-bill kenny

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