What’s on a roof? Sometimes Cary Grant. Usually, though, not a whole lot. A swamp cooler. Dead birds. Lost footballs, baseballs, soccer balls. Leaves. Junk that doesn’t fit in the basement. Why, then, are we so fascinated with roofs of all kinds?
When the Beatles decided to play their final concert, they considered many venues. They considered legendary places befitting the biggest and best rock band of all time. The Parthenon or the Colosseum, perhaps; structures that are indelible marks of human progress. Or maybe a big ship, where the Beatles could literally sail off into the sunset. These grand ideas were ultimately rejected and the Beatles simply walked upstairs to the roof of their office building to play one last show:
In a story, being on the roof is significant. Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon on a roof. Tom Hanks meets with Meg Ryan at the top of the Empire State Building. The roof is not for sissies; when you’re on the roof, you mean business.
A roof is a public place and yet it is private. Not just anyone is allowed on the roof; there is a certain privilege in being atop a building. Helicopters land on roofs. Pigeons hang out on roofs. From a roof, you can look down on the city around you and get the lay of the land. You are king on the roof. You are a god on Mount Olympus.