Arch(itectural) Nemesis

“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde. Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).


Stairs, my lifelong arch(itectural)-nemesis. Over my seventeen years we’ve, unfortunately, had many encounters and some heated “stair”downs. Even when nothing goes explicitly wrong, the experience is hardly pleasant. Of course stairs aren't solely my enemy, but consistently pose threat to clumsy people, skirt wearers, daschunds, babies, and the elderly. After every 5 am workout in the pool, climbing the flight of stairs to class is the final nail in my coffin. I dread the aching fibers in my legs, the sweat rivuleting down my forehead, and the panting that ensues under the weight of my backpack as I drag myself up each step. By the time I reach my seat in a tired, sweaty huff, I’ve silently condemned stairs to the fiery armpits of hell a couple hundred times and question my overall athleticism.

Falling down a flight of stairs is traumatizing. Slip or miss one step, and it's an immediate descent into a complete and uncontrollable tumbling frenzy: vision becomes blurred with a mix of hair, knees, and flailing limbs; fingers helplessly grab fistfulls of air for some sort of brake to stop the pressure in your head and the steady clunk of each stair on vulnerable joints. When it's all over, a throbbing and bruising, dull ache leaves...

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