Friday, December 05, 2008

Architectural Pursuits

Back in 1975 Robin and I were going through an architecture phase, by which I mean that we were admiring buildings old and new and taking the opportunity, when it offered, of sneaking in and taking a gander at those parts not really open to the public.

As an aside I'll note that it *still* pisses me off when, having paid a few bucks for entrance to some grand old mansion or other, that all the interesting bits are off limits. Perhaps the example, par excellence, of this is at Chirnside House, at Werribee a few miles out of Melbourne. One can gawk all one wants at a drawing room filled with period furniture and old woodcuts but can one ascend into the tower? Of course not!

One afternoon in 1975, as aforesaid, Robin and I ventured into an old building on Queens Street. I'd guess it was built around 1920 and it had a staircase that wrapped around the lift well. This was back in the days when buildings still, occasionally, had lift attendants and this building, you guessed it, had such an employee. He was pretty old by our standards; I fancy he might have been as old as I am now. And he was adamant that we were not permitted to be in the building, given that we had no appointment with anyone and, indeed, hadn't even had the foresight to memorise a name or two on the upper floors from the building directory.

Well, just because some old bastard in a lift attendants uniform had said we should leave was not enough reason to leave. We faked a departure, waited until the lift ascended and took to the stairs.

The old bastard was ahead of us and, as we took the final turn in the staircase from the ground floor to the first, he was waiting for us. So down we went again. And down came the lift. A glare in our direction as we retreated out the front door and into the street.

Uh huh - not quite the end of it. This time we waited a couple of minutes and stuck our heads in. No sign of the lift and we made a dash for the stairs. This time we got to the third floor when suddenly the lift door opened and our adversary glared out. Thus up and down the stairs, followed by this pantomime demon and his glares. This went on for quite a quarter of an hour before we realised all he was doing was glaring and, thus emboldened, we made it to the top floor.

Which was quite disappointing. Just a row of office doors and no access to the roof so far as we could determine.

A few weeks ago Sonya and I were bored. So we went for a trip downtown. If you've ever seen Phoenix downtown you'll know we were bored indeed. Particularly when it was Sunday afternoon and I reckon you could fire a cannon down Central Ave and not a soul would notice.

We wandered over to the new convention centre, right next to Symphony Hall. To our surprise it was open (though it certainly didn't look it from the street) and we walked inside. No one around save for a few 'security' types and one young lady at the coffee shop who looked so bored that death might have seemed an attractive alternative.

The interior was much like any such conference centre anywhere in the world; acres of carpet, lots of large rooms, multiple floors and a bunch of escalators. We took one down, to what turned out to be the car park.

We came back up to the ground floor and then took another escalator up. And up. It does go up a fair way.

And on the down and ups we were followed, at a discreet yet obvious distance, by one of the 'security' types. Was she bored? Or did she really think we represented a threat?

I couldn't resist. As she followed us back down to the ground floor I stepped off the escalator at a landing and ducked into an alcove. Sure enough, a few moments later she came rushing past, frantically trying to find this middle aged terrorist obviously bent on bringing down the fabric of Phoenix society.

It was cruel of me, I know. As soon as she disappeared I took the escalator down, rejoined Sonya and we exited to the street. At least I gave the 'security' type something to while away the rest of the afternoon with; the task of finding the nonexistent intruder on the first floor!

What can I say?


Anonymous said...

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way! I know you'll understand :) Maaaaaaaaaaattttttttttteeeeeeeeee

Anonymous said...

Dam . . I added the above comment to the wrong post . . . must have been my boyish excitement at the prospect of all that Christmas cheer still to come :)


Anonymous said...

Re watch the Xmas cooking show . . . that'll get your festive juices going . . .