elb's hovel of thoughts

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top of the Tower

The tower swayed ever so slightly as a wind blew. I started to feel a little queasy; it was bad enough that the machinery was making the tower vibrate without the wind. And with good reason: I was roughly 100 meters up in the air, with only a double railing that barely reached to the top of my toes separating me from definite death. Barely several meters away from me, a process was taking place at over 1000 (yes, thousand) degrees celsius, and I could feel the heat radiating at me.

How did I get up here? By climbing up many flights of metal grating stairs. Getting up is easy as you are looking upwards. Did I mention that the view was amazing? I could see for easily several kilometres around me, and probably more if not for the amazing amount of dust and smoke emanating from the other buildings nearby. The view below was great too, you could see people smaller than ants and lorries running around below, when just a few minutes ago they were towering over you. A bad place to get a bout of vertigo.

The view directly below is another thing altogether. All you see is metal grating after metal grating, and you could almost see the bottom a hundred meters or so below (estimated from the number of flights of stairs I had to climb multiplied by my estimation of the height of each flight using my height as comparison). Thank goodness that after some height below the grating appears almost solid, but not quite good enough.

I wouldn't want to drop my mobile from any height though. The floors are made of grating (saves cost, enables inspection of structure/ machinery), and the slits are wide enough for my phone to slip through if it falls the wrong way. If my phone should fall it could either continue falling through the other levels, hit and bounce off and free fall outside the tower, or still take a hard hit. Neither is pleasant so I am careful as I check my phone for a perceived call.

Going down can be a bit of a terrifying experience. Why? Because you are constantly looking downwards to ensure that you do not miss your footing, and when you can see all the way down from the very top, its not pleasant. The key is to focus directly on the grating just ahead of your feet. Going up was so much easier, as all you needed to do was to look ahead and above, and ignore the pain from the quads that were wrecked in the gym the previous night.

Either way, its an amazing feeling right on top, especially if you fantasize about being in control of it all.

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