Life without the elevator, or 'The 39 Steps'

Life without the elevator, or 'The 39 Steps'

Do you ever think of a part of your life in terms of a title of a great book? This week -- and perhaps next -- I'll be doing that. Going down stairs is now two words in my apartment, not the one word downstairs,  because the elevator is being repaired.

I counted the stairs on Monday, when the "project" began, just in case the lights have as much fun as the elevators. Et voila, my brain had a good way to remember the totals: Each trip down stairs or back up to my apartment consists of 39 stairs.

"The 39 Steps," a novel by John Buchan, is a story I'll try to think of to add adventure to the climbs. The story became an Alfred Hitchcock movie (and a particularly good episode of one of my favorite TV shows, "Remington Steele," which introduced me to many great movies through its film-loving main character).

The story concerns a British agent on the run from London to Scotland, trying to find some obscure village. The trip involves the Forth Bridge -- the same bridge whose paint job is a favorite British metaphor for taking forever, thanks to its size.

Hmm. Sounds like the elevator repairs after all, and we have only five floors!

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  • I'm trying to figure out the conundrum that in one building there are 9 steps down to the landing and 15 down from there to the ground floor in the atrium, but 12 and 12 on the back stairway.

  • In reply to jack:

    Elementary, my dear Jack. Atria (plural of atrium) have higher ceilings. Also, steps can vary in size.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Actually not, as the stairs were not from the ceiling, but the second floor, which was on the same level in each case. The second floor had an open space over the atrium, but extended around it. If you do the math, it was 24 steps either way. The question that remained was why the landings were put at different heights.

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