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Pole of the Empire State

Dreamed 2002/3/26 by Wayan
For those who jumped

I'm stuck up a 450-meter pole in New York. Cling, slide, or drop? Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

I'm atop the Empire State Building, up the mast where only maintenance workers go. From here the observation deck looks just waist-high.

I start down in a tiny outside elevator, alone, still gawking at the view through the windows.

It stops midair. A loudspeaker announces "The elevator must be diverted for maintenance." A crane lifts it off its track and swings it over to a standing pole, the same height as the skyscraper, but barely three centimeters thick and unattached, swaying in the wind... The elevator grapples on. The pole holds.

I'm ordered to climb out the emergency door in the roof. The crane drops heavy boots and gloves for me onto the roof. I slide them on. The left glove is much heavier--so big I feel like a crab with one big claw. I grab the pole, twine my legs around it...

...and the elevator drops away, sliding down the pole to the ground, to be repaired.

I'm left atop a 1400' pole, clinging uneasily, halfway between New York and the sky... and tiring. I'm supposed to slide down the pole and brake myself at the bottom. That's why the one thick glove: insulated, so the friction from braking won't burn my hand.

But I don't know if I can do it. The simplest, boldest, coolest way would be to freefall for the first thousand feet, then one long brake. But if I misjudge, I'll pancake. Or end up high in the air, with the heat from braking to a premature stop seeping in through the glove... so that if I drop the rest of the way, I may not be able to brake again, it may be too much. If my hand burns enough, I'll let go and fall.

And, unluckily, the heavy glove, the one I have to apply the main force to, is the left: my injured hand. My sore thumb will tire out and give way eventually, hot or not, and it may fail even if I drop now.

I wake still clinging, stranded, undecided, all options looking bad, wondering why they couldn't just let me ride that elevator down.


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