Graphic by Joshua Barkman

It came to my attention last week, in the wake of the tragic death of the escalators in the Hall Building (requiescat in pace) that a certain number of Concordia students don’t know how to use a pretty basic, time-honoured human invention—the stairs.

I know it seems pretty pathetic, but the truth is that going to class in the Hall has now become a commando mission: bet on a staircase, take it, dodge the self-centred clue-o-phobe speaking on the phone in the middle of the stairs, reach the door, and if you survive, arrive to class two minutes late, a sweaty, heart-pounding mess.

For those who were absent when they were handing out brains at birth, here are a couple of ground rules, if you will, regarding stair use:

Put one leg in front of the other. Walk upwards, or downwards, depending on where you’re going. Those steps are pretty easy to master.

Here’s where it gets tricky, however: often, there are people besides you running through the same insane rat maze, frantic looks on their faces. So:

Stay to the right, as per North American transport convention, so people can go both up and down at the same time and whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t stop in the middle of the stairs.

For Canadian students, it may help to think of it like hockey: stopping in the middle of the stairs is like trying to cross the blue line with your head down—only the ice surface is a few floors away.

You’re going to get hit and the commentators are going to tell the audience that it was your fault for not paying attention the 6’4” member of the Stingers wrestling team coming down the stairs one flight at a time. (We should probably be wearing helmets.)
Not to mention, headwear could protect us from other dropping things—in the case of the Hall Building, hefty chunks of asbestos.

So remember: hurry up, stick right, keep moving and you may make it out alive! Good luck, because next week, I’ll be discussing the tricky “two-at-a-time” stair-climbing method for the more ambitious among you.