This staircase, an operational piano keyboard designed by Volkswagen, was constructed overnight in Stockholm, Sweden in 2009. Kind of a case study to see how many people would use stairs versus an escalator if it was fun to do. Click on the picture to see the minute and a half video.
It's True! There are two (2) escalators in the entire state; both in Casper and both in city banks.
How do I know this, you ask? Heard it on NPR's "All Things Considered" when a pair of correspondents were discussing the shocking lack of escalators in Wyoming, The Cowboy State.
Naturally, this got me to thinking, which led me to the subject of this post: the selections we have to choose from if we want to rise above OR depart terra firma.
Hot Air Balloons
Stairs are my preferred method of getting-my-feet-of-the-ground. Fully enclosed stairs; not the backless kind, like collapsible bleachers. Or even worse, backless AND see-the- ground-through-the-tread type, like metal planking, or wrought-iron spiral staircases. Those
types are eyes forward, Do Not Look Down, kind of stairs. Being able to track how far away the ground is with each step is flat out unnerving.
Onward.......I do not like escalators. If there's a set of stairs near an escalator I'll opt for it because (A) I can get up/down faster by walking, (B) a zillion hands have grasped those handrails and that just bothers me, (C) any opportunity to exercise outside of the gym, sign me up.
My sole exception to escalator versus stairs usage is at airport passenger terminals. If I could drag my wheeled suitcase up double and triple sets of staircases without worrying about yanking the handle or the little feet off the bag thereby letting it topple to the bottom of the stairs, knocking down unsuspecting stair takers on its way, I'd chance it.
As for elevators, aren't they a marvel? From zero to really, really fast, zipping past floors to deposit you at your destination. Great invention yet not one I utilize if I don't have to. If you've ever been in an elevator it's likely you have at least one story to tell. Maybe similar to:
z~ Getting stuck in one at night, alone
z~ Getting stuck in one at night, not alone
z~ Getting stuck between floors in the freight elevator kind with a clunky, creaky metal door that opens like an accordion
z~ Being in a high-rise type with a kid who plays a round of Mash Every Floor Button before exiting on the 3rd (that one seems to happen most often when my destination is the top floor and I ingested too much fluid before getting on)
z~ Riding with an amorous couple (another scenario that seems to happen only when I have extensive upward travel)
z~ Having an irascible couple for riding companions....ditto the above conditions.
My personal best in stair walking to avoid a herd of passengers waiting for elevators is 28 floors.
Not because I'm anthropophobic. I just prefer not to be amongst a cluster of people in a box on ropes traveling rapidly to a rooftop destination.
To all designers and constructors of staircases, I give you my well-grounded thanks!