Friday, June 28, 2013

The Choir

Shortly after starting my job, I started climbing the stairs during my morning break. It was mainly for stress relief and a little for exercise. I kept a pair of slip-on sneakers in my desk. I would climb up about ten flights and then back down. Occasionally I would skip every other step part of the way up. At some point, I started carrying hand weights. My stair routine was perfect because the climb was hard enough to mitigate stress, but not so hard it ruined my make-up. And I could do it in 15 minutes, the duration of my break. And I hardly ever saw anyone in the stairwell, which was also nice.

About ten months after my arrival, someone put up a poster inside the stairwell explaining the benefits of stair climbing vs. taking the elevator. Now, part of the appeal of the stairwell was that it was completely devoid of visual noise, so I was not pleased to see the poster. But whatever.

Several weeks passed with no noticeable increase in stairwell traffic. Then presumably the same do-gooder launched what I assume was phase two of the campaign to get more people to climb the stairs. 

Suddenly, there were posters inside the stairwell at every floor explaining to me why I should take the stairs instead of the elevator. Increased energy, health and happiness were all to be mine if I would just take the stairs! I read over and over again as I climbed the stairs.

I started seeing a few other people in the stairwell on their breaks for a few weeks, but after a short while it was just me again. Just me and the posters.

I can’t say I was disappointed in the failure of this particular campaign because I very much preferred having the stairwell to myself. So I did not, for example, track down the yahoo that polluted my stairwell and explain to him/her that the posters should have been put up, not in the stairwell, but on each floor just a few yards away, NEXT TO THE ELEVATORS.