Thursday, December 31, 2009

Escalaphobia . . . A Fear of Escalators

For those of you who don't know this little fact - I am scared of escalators. You see, when my brother and I were little, shopping malls were a bit of an adventure for us. We grew up on a farm and as such a day into the city was a pretty big adventure. We would schedule all our appointments for that day and mom would try to get in as much shopping as she could. So escalators were quite a novelty.

One day when we were out shopping at Sears on a visit to Grandma's in Calgary, Trev and I were feeling exceptionally adventerous! We decided it would be quite fun to jump on the down escalator at the bottom, run up it and ride it down again only to do that all over again. We were quite young and I guess Trev wasn't quite as stable on his feet because after a particularly big jump, he fell down and got his little bum caught as the escalator stair folded into the teeth at the end. It tore right through his jeans and little underwear and was pretty sore for a while.

Ever since that day, I do not overly like escalators. It isn't a paralyzing fear as long as I have a clear vision of the stair I am stepping onto and have a free hand to grab the railing. I may slightly hesitate at the start as I choose the perfect stair but with all of my travelling, I have certainly learned to cope. Almost.

I was shopping at Zellers in Market Mall before Christmas to grab some of the basics I needed for baking and wrapping. To set the layout, the Zellers in Market Mall is two stories but it is the only thing on the second level at the mall. As such, there is no cashier upstairs, the escalators are arranged in a way that a shopping cart can not go up and down them, I couldn't find any other shopping basket and the upper level is where they have all the household goods. On the way from searching for a pastry bag to the escalator I passed the toy department. Since this was the weekend before Christmas and I still needed toys for all the boys and Rhyder's birthday toy I quickly checked it out. To my surprise, the toy selection was superior to even Walmart and after a few minutes in the Transformer aisle I was quite elated with my choices.

Keeping in mind that I had no shopping cart or basket, I was loaded down with boxes stacked upon boxes and my chin resting on the top to ensure nothing went flying. Then I remembered the escalator. What was I going to do?? Well I would just have to ride it down. There was no other choice and how bad can it be.

As I approached the escalator I tried desparately to get that clear sighting of the stair. I glanced around (turning my whole body in a full circle as my chin was keeping my toy tower in place) and realized I had all the time in the world as there was no one around. I stood there putting my feet out but I just couldn't take that step as I had no clue where on the stairs I would be. My only other alternative was to try and balance the tower on one hand, side step onto the escalator while my other hand has a death grip on the handle. As I am moving all the toys over and cautiously stepping towards the stairs, I feel my toy tower give way. I turn around to gather my items to discover there are now 5 or 6 people waiting for the escalator. Of course - now that pressure is added to this adventure.

Out of desperation I manage to sputter out in a long run on sentence without taking a breath: 'I'm sorry - it's just that i am scared of escalators and i can't see where i am going and there were no baskets but i needed to buy toys for my nephews and i'm sorry, let me gather all my things so you can get on; you see i'm scared of escalators and well i couldn't see where i was going and so when i tried to move the packages everything fell!'. By now my face is beet red, the packages are all gathered and I have slunk away from the escalator to allow others to pass. A couple of people offered to carry some packages but I quickly turned it down and said if they could just forward me to an elevator I will be just fine!

Finally this lady insisted so I passed a couple of boxes to her and followed her onto the escalator with a firm grip on the handle and a clear vision of my first step explaining to her the whole way down why I was scared of escalators and how I have 3 fabulous nephews to buy for and the Zellers toy department is surprisingly better than Walmart and they have no shopping baskets and and and! I am sure that was the longest escalator ride of her life - heavens to betsy!!

Maybe it is time to face this fear head on: Simple Steps to Overcoming your Fear of Escalators and seek out medical attention :S.


Sandra said...

Sorry, Jules but I found this quite amusing! To be honest, I almost always think of you when I see an escalator. ;)

Mom said...

Yes I can still hear the cries that day in Sears at the NorthHIll shopping center. Dad & I have commented on that day several times and remember everytime we go to that mall!! Wait till you get bifocals!! (It doesn't get any better)

Jules said...

Too funny you guys! Glad the story has not gone forgotten Sandra :)