television personalities: 14th floor redux
Of all those not inconsiderable penalties incurred at the expense of one\’s health – physical or otherwise – as the result of living in a multi-storey block, perhaps the one which rankles most is the lack of facility to take the stairs.
I mention this having just partaken of an especially deep bath, and being startled once again by my thickening midriff.
Certainly, the very act of settling sardine like – as opposed to standing, like any sane person, under a refreshing shower – merely accentuates the problem. What is mentally stored as one\’s self image, taut and youthful, is immediately dispelled as cruel falsehood. Ha! Ha! Ha!, is the none too gentle truth. When was the last time you wearily huffed and puffed your way through a self-imposed regime of stomach crunches ? What happened to the mind cleansing routine of karmic yoga ?
It is not that I\’m rigorously opposed to taking the long way down. I have done it on several occasions – in both directions – despite the fact that the journey covers over twenty floors, and proves quickly exhausting. The worst of it is the stench of piss in the gloomy stairwell which prevents one from stopping to catch one\’s breath. The sticky slap of one\’s soles on the stairs.
The stomach turning spectre of the human sized lump of excrement blocking one\’s path.
I have done the \”stairs\” on several occasions. Mostly when the power to the lifts has gone down. Once when a murder in those same lifts caused yellow police tape to cordon off the easier route for several long hours.
At least we didn\’t dip our toes in spilled blood.
This last was not so unpleasant. I was visiting another (identical) tower block with my son, and the stairwell there was considerably better maintained. There were no ill met inebriates or intravenous users hunched on a landing half way up, either. All the lights were on and nobody was at home.
Should you happen to chance on this post, Dan, I hope you are in good health and no longer dwelling in such conditions.
▼ TELEVISION PERSONALITIES: 14th FLOOR from \”14th Floor b/w Oxford St. W1\” 45 (Overground) 1978 (UK)