It’s Everywhere

This morning, I was standing at my sink, filling my kettle, when I noticed a scratch on my specs, ah…this ugly grey smudge across my vision. I took them off to investigate, and there it was: that great, stupid ladder saying hi. It’s too friendly, that thing; it’s that neighbour who won’t leave you alone. I can see it nine times, from where I’m sitting, and that’s without looking its way. It’s stretched across my iPad, my Switch, my TV. It’s in the lamp by the sofa, and, faintly, in the tiles above the sink. It’s on my monitor twice: once reflected; once in a photo. It’s in the lens of my Nikon and the buttons of my shirt. I can’t really see it in my specs—it’s too close to focus, unless I take them off—but I know it’s there, ’cause it’s everywhere—

—it’s coming from inside the house!

Here it is in my iPad—man, when’d I last wipe that thing? Those smudges, my God!

Back to the ladder, though: it’s the first thing I see in the morning. I open my eyes and it’s there, poking a hole in the sky. I see it at night, grey on black. I see it all day, every day, and in my dreams. I use it as a landmark for lost visitors: “find the ladder and look left—no, left, towards Gladstone. Right there. You can’t miss it.”

There’s an hour when it’s almost worth looking at, on a clear day, around sunset. It turns orange, red, and black—bit of gold, round the edges. It blazes, as far as a matte grey monstrosity can blaze. But it doesn’t make a good picture: it’s still just a ladder on the median strip. Cloud-shadows scud across it; it’s a ladder. Cherry petals flutter by—it’s a ladder. It’s like someone forgot it there, like they finished the building and drove off, leaving one tragic ladder to guard their creation.

I heard there’s another one in New York, only it’s staircases: a pinecone made of staircases, and you climb them, and there’s nothing at the top, not even a view: it’s all closed in with skyscrapers.

The worst thing about the ladder is that there’s a nice bit of mountain, just beyond: a sort of dip, where the clouds collect. I want to try a panorama, but, yeah. Ladder.

You know what would help? If they’d extend some of the rungs to the sides, so birds could sit on them. Right now, they can’t perch: the steps are too close for large birds to fit, and too wide for the wee ones to grip. But with a variety of perches—long ones and narrow ones, curved ones and leafy ones, ones with crotches and baskets for nest-building—they could make a real habitat of it. Put it to use, while improving its silhouette.

On another note, I saw a man go by, this morning, wearing the most excellent shoes. They were red, but so bright they almost glowed, like this neon-ass stoplight-reflector red—I wanted a pair. I thought about shouting down to him, like hey, where’d you get those?—but the street was full of people. They might all have looked up, and I’d have had to…oh, it’s too awkward, trying to converse from on high.

I’m going bananas, all cooped up in here. Ha, ha, ha…ladder.

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