The Stairwell Trap

An elderly gentleman’s body was found in a stairwell recently after he’d been missing for 5 days. There was only one exit door that opened from inside that 3-storey stairwell and he couldn’t locate it. All the other doors opened into the stairwell and could not or would not open from inside.

I was once working in a high-rise office that spread over several floors and usually took the stairs, which all worked very well until one night when we were pulling an all-nighter. I walked into the stairwell to get coffee from another floor and found myself locked in. Unbeknownst to me, the stairwell magnetic doors locked automatically after 8 pm.

My heart pounding, I realised I could be there all night. My colleagues would not know I was in there when they realised I was missing. I could perhaps walk all the way down, more than 25 floors and hope that the door at the very bottom was unlocked since the stairs were after all, a fire escape. Fortunately I had my handphone with me and called a team mate to let me out.

Whenever we were aware of fire drills, we would arrange to take the lift down a few minutes before. Anyone in office during a drill would be compelled to walk all the way down. It’s good exercise I’m sure, but no fun in office shoes or heels.

The view of high-rise offices from one

Random thoughts about opening up

Just as we’ve started opening up, Covid-19 case numbers are rising, from low double digits to over 250 yesterday. But we’ll continue on this path because ICU numbers remain low and 80% of the population is already fully immunised. Booster shots for some will start soon.

I think most of us will encounter the virus some day since it is out there and even vaccinated people will get infected. To minimise the chances of getting seriously ill we should all try to minimise the exposure dose of flying virus particles. That means wearing our masks properly at all times. For this reason, I’m banning any drinking of water during my office meetings.

Yes, we will all be going back to office more regularly now that restrictions are lifted. Looking forward to working more efficiently. Not looking forward to the whole getting dressed up and commuting thing.

The opening up includes quarantine-free return from Germany. So a trip there is now a truly viable possibility. Of course one should always set aside more funds if something goes wrong. For example, one can test positive at any stage and have to be isolated/quarantined/hospitalised. That will add a couple of unplanned weeks to the holiday.

Photo challenge – Covid lunch

This is my contribution to a one-to-three photo processing challenge using a picture of lunch. Let me know which looks more appetising?

Yes, a Covid-19 lunch is a socially distanced affair. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago, when we were not fully opened up. I expect it will get more busy soon, which will be good for businesses. Stay safe, everyone!

To find out about the photo challenge and view more posts, go here.