Yesterday Upon the Stair, I Met a Man Who Wasn’t There

He wasn’t there again today, I wish, I wish he’d go away.

Why am I on the stairs every day? Simple. The Retirement Center, home to about 250 residents, has 2 main elevators. Technically this is called being “Under-elevated”. Factually it means “You wait!” The elevator is going up when I want down or going down when I want up. In addition it is always full. There’s something going on here at all hours of the day. The dining room is on the ground floor. So residents travel down in search of food. Then they travel back up to their apartments and that’s when I’m trying to go down to the art studio. When I’m finished in the studio I’m trying to get back to my apartment, shlepping bags of art stuff, holding canvases in my teeth and in need of the bathroom. That’s when everyone else is trying to get down to the coffee shop. It’s an ongoing struggle.thCAY2Y3IF

Then one day it struck me that there must be staircases. What if there’s a fire and they switch the elevators off? I found stairs hidden in a corner and now I use them for my vertical travel as much as I can instead of the ever-full elevators which seemed to be programmed to stop at every floor, no matter what.

And that’s where I saw the man who wasn’t there…

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

The American educator and poet Hughes Mearns wrote this piece in 1899. I guess he too was having stair trouble in his retirement home.

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