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Steps (20): Side stairs.   [nederlands]

A concrete staircase with white iron railings on a concrete bridge over a river.

A long time ago at Open Monument Day i thought it would be a good idea to visit the local water tower. There was a long line, and i was happy when i got in. But one look at the stairs that led the many visitors upstairs, and i was outside again. A volunteer shouted: You do that quickly! and another person: Fear of heights? at which people burst out laughing, and i ran away faster than light.
Shaming people because of a certain fear is really not okay, by the way. But those who do that are afraid of something themselves, and very insecure, and want to draw attention to others, so that they themselves remain out of harm's way. I've experienced this so often that i recognize certain patterns. But it still sucks when people act like that. The shaming also means that no one dares to talk about these kinds of things, and so even more people are insecure, and then they go.... and so on and so on, that doesn't make any progress, people.

I just looked for photos of the interior at the time, but unfortunately, except for many, many photos of the exterior, i couldn't find anything. The tower was renovated in 2002, and it looks very different now. The stairs from my memory were on the right along the round wall; a narrow, wooden staircase without a handrail along the wall, and only a poor rope was stretched on the open side of the stairs. And it was very high, too. Terrifying. Just the thought of it still gives me nasty butterflies in my lower stomach.
I've written about it before: i also find iron stairs scary, for example, especially if they somehow provide insight into what's underneath. For me, a staircase should reveal as little as possible, be as sturdy as possible, and made of pleasant material. And preferably wide railings or edges around the railings, so that you don't feel like you're about to fall down.
Yes, it's complicated.

The side stairs are also difficult. There is always one side open, and if no oncoming traffic is expected, that is not a problem: you can go up/down on the closed side. But with many oncoming traffic there is a new problem; then there is a moment when you have to go up/down that open side. I notice that a lot of side steps are also made of iron.
At the rope stairs in the water tower i just couldn't imagine how to get down. And all those children who were with us? Something in my brain actually blocks my body, just like it used to do in gym class; then we all had to jump over the box, and the only one who stayed clinged on to it was me. My brain just didn't understand how to get my body over something like that; nor what the fucking use of it was. I didn't know that years later i had to jump over objects to escape police officers or gangs. But adrenaline works wonders in those situations, i can assure you.

A side staircase made of concrete stone, with blue railings, on a clinker stone wall. On the open side of the stairs are trees and shrubs.

An iron, open side staircase on a concrete wall appears to lead to rails because a piece of overhead wire is visible at the top. Next to the open side of the stairs are some trees and shrubs. The whole is protected by transparent fences, with a sign directing pedestrians to the right.

An iron, open side staircase on a wall of a large house. The stairs start at the bottom in a parking lot, where there are several cars. Behind the house are trees and shrubs that partly grow over the roof and the adjacent buildings.

A building made of corrugated iron in gray and blue, quite rusty in many places, with an open steel staircase in burgundy red on the gray side, leading to a light gray door.

A number of large industrial, round reservoirs in the harbour, with each reservoir having a black, steel, open side staircase, protected on the open side with a handrail. Water in the foreground, beautiful cloudy sky in the evening twilight in the background.

The same reservoir seen up close, with the open side stairs in black steel here too.

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DatumTijd: 2023 sep 19, 16:58 CET
LatestEdit: 2023 oct 26, 11:33 CET
Auteur: Mulder

 fear of heights 
 water tower 

 Photography: Hannah Celsius 
 Steps (overview) 
 Stories: Steps 

© 2023 hannah celsius