I Take The Stairs

When I arrive at work every day, I park on an upper level of the parking garage and I take the stairs down to the door of my office building. I think walk to the stairwell and take the staircase up several stories to my employer’s office and sit at my desk. My employer occupies multiple floors of the same building, and when I need to talk to someone on another floor, I use the stairs to get there. When I’m finished, I walk back to my desk the same way I came. At lunch, I walk down the stairs to the garage entrance, then up the stairs and back to my car, which I drive to the gym. This process repeats itself as I return to work in the afternoon and through to the end of the work day.

I take the stairs. I could use the elevator, but I don’t.

When people see me walking to the stairwell, they ask if I’m going to take the stairs. I smile and say yes. They take the elevator. We part ways and meet up on the other floor. We tend to arrive at about the same time.

People often extend kudos to me for taking the stairs. “Good job, Ryan!” “Do you take the stairs when you get in to work every morning? You do? That’s awesome!” “It’s great that you take the stairs every day, Ryan.”

Sometimes, people even say, “I should take the stairs!” But they seldom do, and when they do, it’s only to join me just that one time. Others don’t make a habit of taking the stairs, even when they seem to express a willingness and desire to do so. As they walk up the stairs, they lean heavily on the hand rail or press down hard on their thighs with each step. After walking up a flight or two of stairs, they pant for air and say, “Woo!” in a tired declaration of their efforts.

I am not a special person for taking the stairs. I hardly think about it anymore. Granted, when I started taking the stairs every day, it was a bit harder than it is now. My leg muscles burned a bit and I, too, would breathe heavily when finished. But that didn’t last long. After a while, it was just a force of habit. Walking up and down several flights of stairs is no more taxing to me than walking anywhere else. It's just a staircase to me. I don’t use the staircase to be special or because it’s a physical challenge or because I am Hercules.

Why did I choose to make taking the stairs a habit? Well, the added daily steps seem to work well for my blood sugar, but that effect has long since passed now that taking the stairs is just a several-times-daily occurrence for me. I’m not a particularly environmentally conscious person, but if using the stairs costs me little time or effort, I don’t necessarily understand why I should use a big energy-consuming machine. And not needing to rely on that machine appeals to my sense of asceticism.

But it’s no big deal, anyway. It’s just the stairs. I don’t understand why more people don’t take the stairs. I don’t understand why more people don’t take a walk. I don’t understand why more people don’t ride their bikes places instead of taking cars.

I take the stairs. You might want to try it, too. But if not, no biggie. It’s just the stairs.