I’ve never been afraid of danger, so the other day, when I stepped out onto the glass floor of the Calgary Tower, the one hanging out over the street about 520 meters from the ground, I was shocked to discover neither of my feet had actually moved and that I was still standing safely on the carpeted area.
Through the glass, I could see straight down to the street below. I could see tiny people walking, matchbox-sized cars slipping around a turn, little construction vehicles working. I could see the shadow cast by the tower.
Stepping onto the glass seemed counterintuitive, like stepping onto a cloud. I watched two Indian women giggle while having their photo taken on the glass panels next to me, seeming in the photo, I’m sure, to float on air. They had no problem doing it. My friends walked over next to me and stepped onto the glass. I wanted to grab them.
Instead, I tentatively moved my foot onto the glass. It felt sturdy, but…didn’t it just move? Bend? Surely I felt it bend. Or jiggle. My hand flew up onto the huge metal beam next to me. I imagined myself falling as the glass shattered, my feeble attempt to hold onto the girder thwarted by the fatty ghosts of all my fast food meals the week previous. I couldn’t manage to get around it, but I was determined to get a photo of my feet on the glass, looking down. I had to.
I lunged my body across the glass panels to the metal handrail on the other side, grabbing hold of it with two sweaty palms. Quickly, before I could rethink it, I set both my feet on the glass panel and clicked the shutter.
Then, I scuttled off the glass, full of panic, sure of doom.