I’m about to say something ridiculous, more ridiculous than usual. Are you ready? Here it is:
THE ABJECT DESOLATION OF THE BIG, STUPID LADDER
I’m good at describing things. It’s sort of my job. But it’s hard to find words for the desolation of this ladder.
It’s dull and industrial, grey against grey, but its looks aren’t the problem.
It stands all alone (even birds rarely sit on it), but that’s not it either.
It has Plexiglas up its bottom to keep climbers at bay—but even that’s not the thing. The thing is, the tragic thing, no-one sees it at all. It’s ten storeys high, in the middle of the road, and people drive past it never knowing it’s there.
I’ve tried using it as a landmark when drivers get lost. Like, one time the guy got lost bringing my dinner. He was going in circles, chasing his tail. I said to him, it’s easy. My building’s the one by the big, stupid ladder. He said, what ladder? You mean the crane? And I said, no, the ladder in the middle of the road. The great honking ladder you’ve druv by nine times. (I’d been watching him on the thingy, you know, the map. His little red dot just kept circling my block.) Even after I mentioned the ladder, he drove by again. He couldn’t find me till I came out and waved.
Imagine being that tall, and completely invisible. They even light it at night, and nobody looks. That’s the desolation of the big, stupid ladder. It’s also the reason it’ll always be there. Nobody likes it, but they don’t hate it either. They don’t even see it, so why tear it down?
I didn’t know it’d be there when I bought this apartment. By the time the news broke, I’d paid in full. That, I suppose, is the desolation of me. Woe, and so forth. Fuck and bugger.
…one day, that ladder’ll get hit by a plane. I’ll probably die that day. I’m right underneath.