Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mysterious Stairwalking Readers...

I like my new office building. It's completely different from my old one. For one thing, we don't have an exercise room, fancy popcorn maker or an optimistic bathroom. I don't miss any of those things. It's still quite nice to go to the bathroom and not be assaulted by bursts of cheeriness. I'm sure, in time, the memories of having to be wildly excited to be in the bathroom will fade but, in the meantime, we have a perfectly normal bathroom. It's nice also to go in there and see immediately whether a stall is occupied. In the Most Optimistic Bathroom in the World, there was always one person who didn't understand the concept of leaving the doors open a little when you excited a stall. If you closed the doors, this made any bathroom goer have to embarrassingly knock on the stall or say, "is anyone in there," before she could do her business.

Instead, my new building is a pretty generic office building with three floors, occupied by small businesses like ours. It's quiet. Every day, I see different people as I wait for the elevators. Sometimes I take the stairs but when I go in first thing in the morning, I tend to be a little lazier.

I quite enjoying seeing people in my office building whom I don't have to work with. It makes a nice change not to know everyone in a building.

I have started to recognize a few faces of people I see fairly regularly. There's this nice lady who seems to be on the same bathroom schedule as me. Whenever I go to do my business, she's either finishing up or going in as I leave.

There is a nice travelling opthamologist I've seen on Fridays. He has a lot of equipment on one of the wheely dolly thigs. Apparently, he travels to office buildings but primarily to nursing homes so the old folks don't have to go out to get their eyes checked. He's really nice.

Pretty much everyone I've met is nice or, at least, politely friendly. Sometimes I take the elevator just because it's a good way of seeing who works in my building.

On the occasions I do take the stairs, there is one woman I see almost all the times. Without fail, she is going down the stairs and she's reading a book.

It's not the same book. She literally reads as she's racing down the stairs. I'm not joking about the racing either. She moves pretty quickly considering she's reading.

I can't decide if she's impressive or pretentious. I love to read. There are times when I'm waiting for something and I wish I had a book with me. When I used to take lunch in California, I would always have a book to read at lunch. When it was an addictive book, I'd want to do nothing more than spend every spare moment reading.

Yet I never walked and read. I think I tried it once and I realized that given that I can't walk in a straight line when I'm not reading due to either a terribly lack of ability to walk in a straight line or that I get easily distracted and this causes me to walk crooked. Reading a book while walking was somewhat dangerous.

Thus, I would never think about reading as I'm racing down the stairs.

Because I'm nosy, I looked at what the woman was reading. It's been different books. They're the type that have bright pink covers usually associated with either trashy Danielle Steel type of fiction or a brighter shade that identifies chick lit. I can't make out the titles.

I'm impressed that she hasn't fallen and that she can manage to at least look like she's reading as she goes down the stairs. However, I find it a little excessive that she can't for one moment, put the book away. I get that she probably loves to read. I get that she likes to take breaks from her job when she can to sneak a quick read. If I was enjoying a book and I got 15 minute breaks, I'd certainly go somewhere away from my office and use the time to sneak in a quick read. However, I wouldn't read while I was getting to that somewhere away from my office.

I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she has a good reason. Maybe, for example, she's on a quest to break the Guinness Book of Records for most books read in a year and she hasn't a moment to lose. Or, maybe her husband/child/mother/dog is being held at gunpoint if she doesn't finish a stack of books in a certain timeframe. Maybe, even, she's testing out the safety of the building to see how likely it was that someone who wasn't paying attention could fall down the stairs.

Still, aside from the last reason, I can't fathom why she doesn't, at least, take the elevator. It'd be safer. She could read while she was going up or down and she'd have the added bonus of the pages not bouncing around while she moved quickly. Also, if she was worried about the time she had to wait for the elevator to arrive, it would simply mean more time to read without accidentally breaking her neck.

I suppose she takes the stairs for the exercise. Of course, at that, I can't wonder why maybe she doesn't get an exercise bike or treadmill at home because you can read while doing those two forms of activity.

Still, for all I know, she's worked there 20 years and she's been doing this for ages. Maybe she has the treads of the stairs worked out and that's how she can read and move down the staircase so rapidly.

I just find her a mystery. I suppose I could ask her but she moves so quickly and has such an air of "do NOT disturb me, I'm reading!" about her that I think maybe she should have been a librarian. (Not to stereotype librarians- my good friend Ms. P is one, as is my good friend, Cindy).

I'm sure I shall continue to see her and thus continue to wonder about her obvious addiction to reading. As a writer, it's nice to see someone that dedicated and voracious. As a fellow reader, I can't help but admire her dedication.

Yet, I admit, I'm also just slightly worried that she's so addicted to reading, she's putting her safety at stake on those stairs.

It's just one of those things that makes my building interesting. Who needs optimistic bathrooms when I've got Mysterious Stairwalking Reading Lady to observe?

Happy Thursday!

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