Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fear of Heights

I went to see my kids in Louisville where they live in an apartment on the 15th floor of a high-rise apartment building. I have never liked heights ((which shows itself in fear of flying and even elevators beyond the 2nd floor) but just how innate this fear is was brought home to me on this visit because they don't smoke in their apartment. Instead, you have to go out on the balcony.

I didn't really mind until I actually went out there. The first time, I heard a siren and thought it would be fun to track it from the balcony from which you can see across many city blocks. I grabbed a cigarette and headed out and over to the ledge, peering out to locate the source of the siren. A moment later, it suddenly struck me that I was hanging out 15 stories up with nothing below me but thin air. The balconies, I noticed, seem to be attached very flimsily to the side of the building. Oh, they may pass Louisville building codes but my own standards are a little stricter and would include something like 15-foot pillars made of solid steel supporting the balconies from below. I realize that would spoil somewhat the attractiveness of the building but we are talking safety here which would seem to over-ride the importance of eye-appeal!

My head began to swim; my legs actually almost buckled. Faint-headed, I resisted the humiliating temptation to drop to my knees to crawl but, instead, crept back step-by-shaky-step, where I clung like a limpet to the outer wall. For the rest of my stay, only pure addiction drove me out, barely, to the balcony for a few quick puffs.

Lisa's assignment in Louisville is for 13 weeks, of which approximately 6 weeks have passed. I fervently hope her next placement includes living quarters nearer to terra firma.