The Legend of the Snorkelift

One day I walked into my office and saw that there was a snorkelift parked right outside my office window.

I have always been fascinated by basement windows (although we are officially encouraged to call our level the "Lower Level" of the "Faculty Office Building" here at "Founders Hall," not "the basement"), because ever since I found out the zoning laws allow you to designate particular areas of building differently based on the number of windows positioned in those levels, and the number of entrances and exits?  I was asonished that basements can magically become not-basements just by adding openings.   So basement WINDOWS had a by-their-very-nature magical and transformative quality.  Needless to say that was before I found out that an even simpler trick (re-naming) could perform similar magic.

One million years ago, I had a sneaking suspicion that I would accidentally stay in this job for much longer than I had planned to.  That I would in fact, be staring out this basement window for a good while. So, I thought to myself, if I'm going to be here for a while, I might as well take some photographs. And I started taking photographs from my basement, I mean lower level, window each week.

It's particularly surprising, after so many photographs and longing gazes outdoors, to suddenly have your view be skewered by a snorkelift.

I have never seen a snorkelift before, and I didn't even know what it was. When I got closer I was able to read the label.

Then I realized that the label didn't help very much because I didn't know what a snorke was. (Sure, you could surmise that the word was actually snorkel. But then how do you explain the word "ift"? That just doesn't make any sense at all.)

Really my only semantic clue, was that snorkelift sounds a lot like snuffleupagus...but even after I went outdoors, and looked up at the high high top of the snorkelift? Where a man was working from a caged-in platform, his actions curiously obscured by the roofline?  I still saw no evidence that a large puppet creature was anywhere in sight.

The snorkelift was gone later, when I returned after teaching a class. I will always be haunted by the meaning and purpose of the mysterious snorkelift. The only thing that I will know for sure, is that whoever decided that this was the "Lower-Level "should have used some of those same creative fiction skills to come up with a name other than "Faculty Office Building."

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