07 juillet 2005

The dwarf and the ladder

Once upon a time, there was this wee girl, 1m60 to be precise, who had two left hands and ten thumbs and couldn't do much around the house.
One day, her parents came to visit, and they kindly took that opportunity to do some work for her that she obviously was not physically (or mentally, poor child) capable of doing. This included fitting in some shelves and drilling holes in the walls so they could fix the curtain rails. To that end, her parents had brought with them their own set of power tools. They relied on their daughter, you see, for the essentials, such as hammer, spare nails (no acrylic), stepladder and the like.
Unfortunately, the wee girl only had one of those fancy stepladders that you can also use as a spare stool, but that was no use to reach the ceiling. She was desperately lacking a proper, normal-height one.
So the parents sent their daughter out into the wild world to go ask one of her better-equipped friends for one. Out she went, in her billowing summer dress, all 5'3" of her (aren't I sweet to give you both the metric and the other thing too?) to fetch the magic ladder. 'Twas a hot day, that day. But she was determined to accomplish her mission in honourable fashion. So on she sauntered to her friends' apartment, who could provide her with the much sought-after artefact.
Once she had acquired the ladder, she made her way home in the now stifling heat. Perspiration (ladies do not sweat) ran in glistening rivulets down her golden skin (she was barely back from a holiday on tropical shores), her dress clung to her, outlining...
Ooops. Wrong genre.
Right. So she made her way home, careful not to hit any of the shop awnings she walked by and under. Unfortunately, short as she was, the ladder was overbearing. She was ridiculously dwarfed by it. People saw her and her sidekick - or was she the ladder's sidekick? - and smirked. But she walked on, her head held high. And soon she reached the shadowy haven of her own adobe.
By the end of the day, all curtain rails had been affixed. 'Twas time for her to make her way back to her friends' flat, to hand in the ladder, now that its job had been done.
But she couldn't be bothered. So she kept the ladder a whole week, until she felt it was improper of her to do so. Out she went, this time dressed more appropriately for both the weather and the task at hand, in sturdy trousers and a comfy cardigan. She noticed the smirks again, but now what really bothered her was the fashion in which people stayed in her way even as they saw that her mobility was
obviously hindered by the presence of the stepladder (useful though it had been - she was not in the slightest being derogatory to the ladder. It just so happened that right then, it was a bugger to handle). She thought of using Jedi mind tricks, or of holding the ladder parallel to the ground and whirling around very quickly while keeping her eyes open to observe the passers-by as they flew up and dropped in a heap in the gutter (not grinning anymore, are you, hon?). But she kept her cool and walked on, seething, even though it didn't show.
She finally reached her destination, left the ladder in the caring hands of its true owners, bid it a fond adieu, and made her way, yet again, back home. While walking unhindered, she noticed pram-pushing, parcel-carrying, kids-toting parents, and her heart went out to them, until she realised that she had done it wrong all along: why bother with trying to avoid awnings, people and cars, when you can use whatever it is you're carrying as a thoroughly effective means to ensure that people, cars, and even awnings if you go about it right, will avoid you? That saddened her. Not only was she utterly useless at DIY, her competencies were also ridiculously limited in the street.
She was quickly back to her angry self, however, when she saw a good few too many SUV's and 4WD's
(with pushbars and windshield-mounted light bars, only the bare necessities) on the streets of Paris, of all off-road playgrounds, but that's a story for another bedtime.