Distressing dilemma-stairs or elevator?

Bob Trettin


“The victory is not always to the swift, but to those who keep moving.”

“Change happens onestep at a time.”

These are just two examples of signs posted outside of elevators on campus encouraging Lawrentians to take the stairs as a healthier alternative to the elevators.

As a freshman at Lawrence, one of the many new situations I was presented with was the daily dilemma of whether to take the stairs or the elevator. Living on the fourth floor of Sage, the choice might seem clear: elevator. However, certain factors have affected my decision to use the stairs on a regular basis.

My commitment to the stairs is reasoned more by my dislike of the elevator, than it is by my partiality toward the stairs. I am impatient; waiting for that automatic sliding door to open can seem like an eternity! Of course, my minor case of claustrophobia influences my preference.

I must also mention that I simply can’t stand that seemingly inevitable and unpleasant moment of having to endanger my arm for the sake of a hurried resident who just couldn’t wait for the next one.

Taking the stairs for health reasons does not really pertain to me. I’ll put it this way: I can afford to ride the elevator. Yet the intended motivational “Take the Stairs” signs, deliberately placed right outside the elevators, delicately persuade me to feel just guilty and lazy enough to be the final determinant in my choice to ascend and descend via the staircases.

Admittedly, there are drawbacks to my personal undertaking. Usually by the third flight, I am sincerely regretting my decision, as my thighs scream in protest and my lungs aren’t even capable of screaming in protest. I grip the side rail and catch my breath as I consider turning back, admitting defeat.

However, I invariably force myself to continue onward — I am not a quitter. The feeling of reaching the top of the stairs in Sage is much like how I would imagine Rocky felt in that legendary scene when he conquered the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum — although, that might have something to do with my neighbor’s insistence on playing “The Eye of the Tiger” at excessive volume in his room.

This small, somewhat pathetic sense of accomplishment occurs multiple times every day. Over time, my perseverance, determination, dedication and perhaps my stupidity have paid off. My thighs’ screams have been reduced to mere grumbles, and my lungs are fully capable of handling the challenge.

I can personally attest to the effects of taking the stairs. This simple daily choice may seem insignificant, but over the course of few months, taking the stairs could have a considerable impact on one’s health.

For those of you who reside on the first floor, I envy you. You are not faced with this difficult choice as often as us upper floor residents. Yet when confronted with the opportunity, I hope you remember that “Change happens one step at a time.” I leave you with this challenge, Lawrentians: Dare to Stair.