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2005-07-25 - 12:51 p.m.

I'm back on the 25th floor of a big office building. I just went out to lunch, to Uncle Al's Famous, and on the elevator ride back up, I thought we had gotten to the 25th floor, but a FedEx delivery guy had actually hit the up button on the 24th. So when he got on at the 24th, I assumed it was the 25th, the only button lit up inside the elevator.

When I got out into the lobby, I immediately saw that I was on the wrong floor because of the lack of windows and things. So I started for the elevator to go up one more floor, but it was closing. Stairs, I thought.

After I closed the door to the stairwell, I noticed a sign--big red capital letters on white--reading: CAUTION: This door locks immediately after closing. You must go to the Basement to exit the stairs."

So I took the stairs. I went singles at first, but that seemed to be taking forever (the rises on these steps are tiny, like five inches or something). Then I did doubles, but I was still carrying a fountain cup from lunch and so having to carry this cup while trying to do double steps down while also wearing office khakis created a pain in my left knee. I also have kind of big feet (long, really), so taking two steps at a time requires a certain angling of the dangling, searching foot.

After eight or nine flights of doubles, I went back to the singles. And then doubles again around the sixth floor, when I just wanted to get it over with. And, despite the fact that I heard or saw not one sign of human, not a voice or piece of trash, the amount of dirtied-up chewing gum on these steps is just incredible. I'm talking one every three steps. And this building's maybe twelve years old. Just incredible, the gum chewing and spitting out going on in this neglected, spray-insulation coated stairwell.

I sweated going down the stairs. That's just comedy.

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