When I came down from Oregon, I got a job as a foreman for a big construction company in San Francisco. The bread and butter of the work was fast-paced, downtown, interiors projects. I was assigned an interiors project for a design company right down on Front Street. It went off in about twelve weeks, nine hundred thousand dollars worth of work. It gave them lovely new offices to work in. We finished the job on a Friday, got all the phones hooked up, they moved in over the weekend, and they were pretty much up and running on Monday.
Wednesday, I got a phone call from the client project manager, Joe.
“There seems to be something the matter with the front stairs, we’ve had three people trip.”
“It’s about two o’clock now, I’ll cut out a little early and I’ll come right over there and take a look at it with you, OK?”
I hadn’t been back since they moved in. I walked in and everybody was working. Their stuff was all put away in the little workstations; at the front desk sat the beautiful young receptionist in a low-cut top,
“Hi Joe. Hi Bill”
The stair case was right to the right of her, and the big guys’ offices were upstairs; this was going to be a problem if the big guys were tripping on their way down.
I took my tape measure and measured from the ground to the first step: six and seven eighths, from the first to the second: six and seven eighths, second to third: six and seven eighths. I skipped a couple and got up to the top of the stairs. Facing the stairs and looking at the tape measure, “I don’t know Joe, I’m getting the same measurement every step.”
“Well I wonder what it is then?”
We turned around and started walking down. As I walked down, I peeked over the edge of the stair rail at the receptionist, and I’m looking right down her shirt. As we got closer and closer to the bottom, I’m having a hard time looking anywhere else. Finally, at the third to the last step, I tripped. I turned around and looked back up at Joe. He’s holding his hand over his mouth, pointing at me, and stifling his laughter.