By Joseph Musemuci

What a lovely surprise! After leaving campus for one week for Spring Break, we return to be greeted by brand new stair covers in ICC! My sincere and heartfelt thanks to any and all parties responsible for the change.

If you haven’t stopped by to see the gorgeous sight for yourself, take a few moments out of your busy schedule to visit the main stairwell in ICC on the Red Square side. The new stair covers are quite a treat, and I have found that a quick getaway to admire them makes the ideal study break.

From the third floor down to the first floor, new black and grey covers enrobe the stairs. Cosmetically, they provide a definite upgrade from the previous combination of elementary school classroom pastel colors. Structurally, they offer a superior grip, which will hopefully cut down on the number of nasty, embarrassing slips and spills on rainy days. Aurally, they should drastically decrease the dreaded “squeaky factor,” providing a greater buffer than the old rubber on rubber scenario posed by the old covers. All elements considered, a tremendous upgrade worthy of fanfare of a similar magnitude.

The vast strides of progress are easily perceived since the covers leading up from the third floor still remain in the old style. I have no qualms with the decision to only renovate the lower flights, since the higher flights receive such a lower volume of traffic and are therefore in much better condition. But the nearby reminder of the old stair covers serves to heighten my appreciation of their new replacement through a unique form of juxtaposition. I appreciate walking on the new covers even more after refreshing my memory of what we used to have by running up to the fourth floor. You’ll find the difference shockingly noticeable.

Sadly, these new superior flights of stairs serve only to mock their inferior counterparts, the brick stairs that lead down from Red Square in between ICC and Copley. As opposed to the delightful height of 6 3/4 inches of the steps of the indoor stairwell, we are presented with two unappealing alternatives while outside. We choose either the overly dainty 5 3/4 inch steps which appear to be the main walkway or the 17 1/2 inch jumps of the sitting area along the side. Both options serve to heighten the risk of tripping, since neither properly fits an average stride. Regardless of how ugly one may deem the Reiss building, such a structural blunder certainly ranks as far more egregious.

But we can still make our stairs a better place. Whether it’s inside, outside of ICC or somewhere else all together, the implementation of proper stairs etiquette would make all of our lives happier.

For instance, we could pay a bit more attention to distinguishing between our right and our left. Generally, traffic patterns in this country suggest that we keep to the right of those walking in the opposite direction. Yet, either through ignorance or a lack of consideration, this norm is broken with disturbing frequency. Personally, I find it helpful to avoid blunders of this nature by looking down at the backs of my hands. If I’m walking on the side of the stairwell closest to the hand where my pointer finger and my thumb make an “L,” then something is wrong.

Decidedly more annoying than walking on the wrong side of the stairs is not walking at all. While I understand that the bond between friends and significant others may be exceptionally strong, I maintain the belief that the stairwells are not the appropriate place for a reunion. We’ve all been the victim of a stairwell traffic jam (inevitably on the way to an exam), and untimely fraternization is the culprit more often than not. Chances are that the excitement felt when seeing someone special on the stairwells will be just as strong when you leave the stairwell and walk out into a hallway where there is more room.

Perhaps if you’re not as big of a fan of stairs as I am, you may not become quite as excited about the new stair covers as I have. But I would find it rather hard to believe that I’m the only one whose face brightens and heart skips a beat in response to this glorious improvement to our campus. Whether it’s a subtle smile or the highlight of your day, I sincerely hope that you’ll join me in expressing the enjoyment and appreciation warranted by our new stair covers in the days and weeks to come.

Joseph Musumeci is a junior in the College.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.