miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2017


Julio Cortázar
Englished by Sandra Dermark
8th of March 2017


No one has ever overlooked the fact that, frequently, the floor folds in such a manner that part of it rises forming a ninety-degree, or straight, angle against the ground (the ground and that part forming the catheti of the corresponding triangle), and then the next part is placed parallel against the ground to give subsequently way to a new perpendicular; a pattern that thus repeats in a spiral or zig-zag line up to exceedingly variable heights. Squatting down and placing one's left hand on one of the vertical parts, and the right one on the corresponding horizontal part, one has entered momentary possession of a so-called step or echelon. Each and every one of these steps, composed as we can see of two elements, is placed slightly higher, and ahead of, the previous; this is the principle that gives sense to the staircase, since any other combination will produce arrangements that are maybe better-looking or more picturesque, yet utterly incapable of conveying a person from a ground floor to a first floor.
Staircases should be climbed facing forwards, since backwards or sideways stair-climbing would prove particularly uncomfortable. The natural stance consists of standing upright, arms hanging effortlessly on both sides, head up but not excessively lifted lest the eyes cease to see the steps immediately above to the ones currently being trod on, and breathing slowly and steadily. To climb up a flight of stairs, one should begin by raising that part of the body which is located on the lowest extremity to the right, covered in leather or fabric, and which, exceptions aside, perfectly fits the size of the step. Having placed said part, which we will refer to as foot for short, on the first step, the equivalent part on the left side (also called foot, but which shall not be confused with the foot mentioned above), and, bringing it to the height of the foot, it is raised on until being placed on the second step, leaving the foot to rest on this one and the foot to rest on the first step. (These first steps are always the most difficult ones, until the necessary co-ordination is acquired. The coincidence of names between the foot and the foot makes the explanation difficult. Please take special care not to lift the foot and the foot at the same time.).
Having thus attained the second step, it suffices to alternately repeat these movements until the top of the stairs is reached. Then, the stairs are easily left, with a slight tap of the heel that leaves them in their place, from which they will not move until the moment of descent.

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