Chucking it Around


It’s a line I’ve been hearing quite a bit lately. “If you’re throwing it away, you can give it to me, mate.” Or words to that effect.

You see I’ve been chucking money around, a bit willy-nilly, on the streets of my town and people are starting to notice and pass comment, as described above, so I thought I’d better address it here before it becomes a national issue or something.

The main thing to understand is that I am not deliberately throwing my hard earned cash around on the street. Those who know me will understand how that would be an unlikely scenario at the absolute best of times. No, indeed, that is not the case. My newfound profligacy has nothing at all to do with a renewed sense of charity or altruism. It is something different entirely.

In fact, if it has to do with anything at all, it has to do with the ‘Paternoster Lift Effect,’ which I may have just invented. Before continuing, we need to make sure that we all know what a paternoster lift is. So allow me to write a word or two on that. And please understand, I’m not being superior or condescending in assuming that you may not already know what a paternoster lift is. You, who visit this blog from time to time, are well-informed and highly intelligent people. In all likelihood, I do not need to say anything at all on the subject. You’re with me all the way. In fact, the only reason I do so now is because I have a sneaking suspicion that I myself would not know what a paternoster lift is, if I hadn’t had to learn about it in college as part of architectural stuff, where every form of lifting device has to be covered, if only in the most rudimentary of ways.

A paternoster lift is a lift that never stops moving. It is also open at the front, no doors at all, so you step on when it arrives at your floor and you step off again at your desired destination. It sounds rather like suicide as an option for vertical travel but I hear that they work okay. I tend to think of them - when I do, and that is rarely - as a sort of a vertical escalator. Constantly in motion, step on, move with it, step off. Fine. But it does tend to create imagery, doesn’t it? Half in and half out as the lift moves between floors. Cut nearly in two, like that poor guy in ‘Damien – Omen 2.’

I’ve never seen one. A paternoster lift. I’ve seen pictures. That’s one at the top there. They’re few and far between now, I reckon, but I think they still exist. I read somewhere that there’s one in The University of Essex and apparently there’s loads of them in Germany. Maybe someday I’ll get to ride one. Maybe someday I’ll just take the stairs.

“But,” I hear you cry, “what has all this absolute hooey got to do with the reason you are now throwing money around town with evident abandon?” How can I possibly equate an overlong section on an obsolete elevator-type with a new-found propensity for town-centre largesse.

It’s all very simple really. I used to enjoy not having a cover on my phone. Shoot me if you must but I enjoyed the sleek elegance, the futuristic nature of it. All that changed, as it was always going to do, when I dropped my sleek little phone, juggled it a bit between my hands, then saw it drop sideways onto the pavement. Shattered, my futuristic phone nirvana and the glass fronted face of the thing, all in one fell swoop.

So I bought a cover for it, after it had been repaired. But here’s the rub, the cover has a rim on it that runs around the perimeter and that rim creates a little edging around the side of my phone. So now, when I pull my phone out of my pocket to inspect or answer it, the coins in my pocket have sat into the rim around the phone and so, like on a paternoster lift, they are drawn up and out of my pocket on the edge of the phone where, once exposed to the outside, they proceed to fall off the edge and careen all over the street and people say to me, “I’ll have it, matey, if you’re throwing it away.”

So that’s it. My covered phone has become a paternoster lift for the coins in my pocket. I shall have to move the coins, or move the phone, or do something else entirely. But these things take time, you know? They can’t just be rushed into. Meantime, that one euro coin, right there at your foot. Yes, that one. That’s mine.

May I have it back, please?

Footnote - How did today’s blog come about? While thinking about what to write this week, I received a phone message and, in the act of pulling my phone from my pocket, I spilled a grand total of seventy-five cent out onto the pavement. “I know,” I said to myself, “I’ll write about that.” Whereupon another voice in my head said, “You’ll never manage 800 words on that.” And the first voice replied, rather defiantly, “Let’s just see, shall we?”

Have a good day, wherever possible.

(890 words)

1 comment:

JenaIsle said...

Hello, Ken. Long time no read/see. I have to accept, I don't know what a Paternoster Lift is. But I fully understood what it is through your vivid and clear description. I was thinking of the lift construction workers use when building a structure. It's similar to that.

As usual, you interestingly presented the topic. I was smiling while reading your post. Thank you for the good read.

May I have my 20-peso coin, please? I can't afford to lose it.

Have a fun weekend.