Gregg’s stair

Every experience holds a story if we listen for it,

every experience has potential to change us.

Why did he do it? Was this craftsman off of his game, was he testing me or was he noble in his pursuit of excellence but he just had an off day?

The Best Western Primrose Inn, Downtown Toronto has 23 floors, 25 steps on each floor for a grand total of 550 stairs. I know because I ran them six times yesterday (that’s 3300 in case you are counting). Okay, to be honest I did not run the stairs, I mostly walked them, the last few minutes feeling like a Frankenstein lurch alternating between Darth Vader air-sucking breaths.


I tripped three times on the same step, the first step on the 6th floor is a fraction higher than the other 549 steps. Guess my mind was a little free so I began to imagine what occurred, making that one step different from all of the rest?


The stair-maker had to have a name, so I pretended his name was Gregg. Did Gregg have an off day or maybe it was a Monday morning when Gregg finished 6th floor step #1? Or did he assign that step to his hapless Summer intern Billy? (I’ve been there, trying to make a few bucks to pay for University while getting through a summer job at a company owned by the Borg. In fact, I was actually nicknamed Billy… but that is a topic for another story.) Did Gregg think “No big deal, no one will notice?” (Well, Gregg I did notice, and I know where you live.) Didn’t Gregg realize that the steps he creates are permanent, that every guest who takes the stairs may trip and risk a broken nose or bruised shins at the hands of this Stair-minator? Was Gregg oblivious to our safety, careless or drunk that day? Did he have a fight with his wife or was he preoccupied with his Mortgage? Gregg, what the hell?

Maybe I was overcome with exhaustion but I began to have some empathy for Gregg. Could it be that Gregg did a pretty damned good job on the stairs, 549 rock solid steps and one dog. The other 549 steps are identical while this one is off by just a few Millimeters (That’s a 99.8% success). If my 14 year old achieved 99.8% in his Math class, he would pin his report card to my chest! Hell, if I could get 99.8% of my work life right, I’d be pretty proud of that. It is so easy to look at one misstep and ignore everything else. The hand rails are well made, the baseboard heaters keep the staircase feeling like Maui and each floor is clearly marked so guests like me can count off each passing floor level, Executioner style.


Was Gregg off his game? Do I need to practice a little gratitude and keep the misstep in perspective? Or is this about my all-too-human need for sameness and uniformity? Maybe the heat and lack of fresh air in the staircase affected my ability to think rationally?

What do you think?

Keep it real


One thought on “Gregg’s stair

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