Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Upstairs, Downstairs.

Space is at a premium in many places and it makes sense to build up. I hadn’t really thought that much about it until we were in Sydney last week. In fact, I don’t think I would have thought about it there either had we not been evacuated from our apartment one evening.

Husband and I were sitting relaxing after a day of sightseeing when we got the message to evacuate the building. Our apartment was on the 31st floor and the lobby was on the 10th. There were a lot of stairs for us to descend. By the time we got to the bottom I had a severe case of jelly legs. Once out on the street we were told we could go back in because it was false alarm. Tell that to my legs. The next morning my calves and quads were so sore I could barely walk. That speaks volumes about my level of strength and fitness I know but that’s for an as yet unwritten poem entitled, “Ode to a Weak and Unfit Blogger”, not for here.

I decided that, if there was another evacuation, I would take my chances staying in the building and waiting for a sexy fireman to rescue me because there was no way I was going to walk down all those stairs again. Ever. There was no need, however, as we were left in peace for the rest of the trip. We took the lift up and down for the rest of the trip. I was doing that Footprints no no before my legs expired and would continue to do so. The building we stayed in was very tall and full of guests; I imagine the electricity used in just the lifts was enormous and I definitely contributed to that one. Except, of course, during the “Great Evacuation of 2012”.

The day after – when my legs were sore but not yet at their worst – we went to the Powerhouse museum. It is on three levels and one can use stairs, escalators or lifts. Under normal circumstances I would have taken the stairs. Unfortunately, pain precluded me from doing so. I opted for the escalators because they are moving whether I’m on them or not. That way, I didn’t feel like I was contributing to the power consumption.

We ate lunch in a little noodle restaurant in Chinatown which was upstairs. There were no stairs in sight, only a dodgy and rickety looking and sounding lift. Normally the lift would have made me anxious; that day I was glad I had no choice. I guess we could have eaten elsewhere but we were famished after a few hours in the museum and in no mood to shop around. Furthermore, my legs were too sore for any more walking.

The next day we went to the Sydney Tower. We took the monorail. One has to go up to get to the monorail station. Again I was in so much pain – worse actually than the day before – that I had to use the lifts. I felt like a very bad girl. Of course, in the Tower itself the lift is the only way to the top. Each lift is packed full of people for the ascent so I didn’t feel too guilty. Coming down was worse because Husband and I took one by ourselves.

That night we went to see our children perform at Angel Place Recital Hall. We came in downstairs and had to go up. I again took the lift with no apologies. There was, however, someone else in there with me so I felt a little less guilty. Husband was so embarrassed he took the stairs shaking his head in disbelief at my wimpiness. I’m going to remind him of it the next time he has a man cold. I walked down later, feeling very self-righteous and saying “ouch” with each step. By then I’d been shown up by my friend’s dad who has trouble getting around but still managed to get up the stairs.
The last stairs I had to face were the ones at our own airport upon our arrival home. Again I opted for the escalator.

Had I not had sore legs I would have taken the stairs automatically at most of those places without even thinking about it. The exceptions would have been in our apartment building, at the Tower and in Chinatown where we couldn’t see stairs. The upside of it was that I learnt two things. First of all, strong limbs shouldn’t be taken for granted and, second, there are a lot of places where we need to make the choice in our lives each day whether we’re going to take stairs, escalators or lifts. I’m going to opt for the stairs to keep my contribution to carbon emissions lower and build up some strength in my calves and quads!


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