There is something nostalgic about sitting on the stairs.
I remember doing it in my grandmother's house, on the stairs outside the school, with my friends or boyfriends on the stairs between the floors in the apartment buildings we lived in when I was a teenager.
And I still like to do it. On Saturday night, I was at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta at the Harlequin party. It was a great party - but too hot and too noisy to spend too long in the main room. Three of us - Stevi Mittman, Alison Hart and me - escaped into the lobby and found ourselves, almost automatically, gravitating to the stairs.
We were dressed up - high heels, makeup, formal clothing - and yet there we ended up, sprawled on the stairs, disregarding the mess we might make of our perfect selves.
Conversation is different on the stairs - more personal, less complicated, and definitely more entertaining. We looked up at everyone, as if we were children again, seeing everyone from an unexpected angle. Everyone talked to us, and we talked back, no barriers, no discomfort, all of us remembering what it was like to pick a step next to a friend and sit down. Talk. Share stories.
We even sang.
We should have tried The party's over or Good night, Irene - easy songs to sing, requiring little if any musicianship. Instead we threw ourselves into trying to remember all the verses of So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, adieu - none of us were that young, none of us had the voice to carry it off. But we didn't care.
We were sitting on the stairs and we could do whatever we wanted.
I recommend it. The next time you're at a party, sit down on the steps and see what happens.
It won't be long before someone - and probably the person you least expect - will sit down on the step just below you, their head even with your shoulder. And then another will sit down on your other side - not on your step - that's not stair sitting etiquette - but on the step just above you. There's a geometrical tidiness to stair sitting.
Check it out and let me know how it goes.