Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Gravity is sometimes referred to as a "weak" force, but -- perhaps like the erosive action of wind and water -- in time it will overcome everything. It's easy to forget that on Earth there is a force tirelessly pulling down on everything, everywhere, all the time, always towards the same single destination. There's not one pebble on top of another that gravity isn't reaching through and patiently testing.

Of course, once you've trapped your fingers a couple of times under something heavy, or had something hard drop on your head, you do learn respect for weight and watch out for falling things, which are gravity's calling cards. But, because we don't find ourselves stuck painfully onto a smooth, featureless plain like swatted flies on a ceiling, and because the sheer exuberant three-dimensional solidity of the world belies gravity's force (whether it's natural features like mountains or trees or human architectural constructions), we can easily take it for granted.

Some gravity-defying exuberance

But I've got an office door that creaks on its hinges, and every little draught passing through my open window makes it groan. Its lament constantly reminds me of the sheer weight of the door, all held in place by three narrow rods passing through some thin metal plates, and fixed to the cheap wood of the doorframe by just twenty four screws, which must be screaming under the strain.

Hurts just thinking about it, doesn't it? My idiotic hat is off to you, gallant woodscrews, in your perpetual agonised wrestling match with gravity. You're a class act.

But I'm afraid I have brought a can of WD-40 in today, to anaesthetize my pain, if not yours.

A gravity-approved dwelling

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