The Lady & The Stair

I was at a musical performance the other week. A couple of groups playing as a send-off to Fiddle Tunes. Maybe a few hundred people in an old blimp hangar. The audience area was slightly staggered, so there would be like 8 rows of chairs, then a stair, then 8 more, etc. So if you were walking toward the back of the hangar, you’d have to, ya know, go up a stair once in a while.

I sat on the edge of a row, with one of those stairs a few rows ahead of me. The lady sitting right next to that stair took it upon herself to warn every single person about the stair. She must have warned 100 people. She’d hold up her hand so they would notice, then she would point at the stair, and tell them to be careful. A self-appointed social safety cop.

At first, I was annoyed by her. It’s not pitch black; in fact, it’s not even a little bit dark. It was midday, and there was plenty of light. And I think people understand the concept of stairs. Especially when you are somewhere unfamiliar with lots of other people, you look where you are going, you see a stair, you go up the stair (there were ADA affordances elsewhere).

Then the lady got up to go somewhere for a bit, abandoning her social safety cop position. The very next person who walked by tripped on the stair. Then another person came up, and they tripped on the stair, too.

This little world was totally helpless without the lady. I miss her a little bit now.



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