Friday, January 07, 2005

The Shopping Mall

I avoid the malls between Thanksgiving and about the fifth of January each year. Today, I went to Barnes and Noble to find a couple of calendars. You know, the ones I didn't get because I avoided the malls. Everything went well except that I didn't find a good classic car calendar. I did buy a couple of books to make up for it.

One thing that's always bugged me, and I noticed it once again today.

Why do people stand on escalators? You can observe in any mall (the other ten months of the year), people walking briskly this way and that, from store to store, buying their stuff, etc. Then they come to an escalator. They pause, look for just the right treadle, and step deliberately onto it, looking like they don't know quite what to expect.

They stand rigid as a store mannequin all the way down (or up), obviously planning their escape at the end of the ride. Tension rules. They haven't concentrated this intensely since finals in their senior year. They stand transfixed by the approaching bottom (or top). Get ready. Don't want to get sucked down under the floor. Even worse, they don't want to stumble or look awkward to nearby observers or (shudder) their friends!

Have you ever been in an airport that has a slidewalk? You can walk alongside of it at normal walking speed (and take all day to get to your gate) or you can step (ever so gingerly) onto the slidewalk and stand there and move along a little faster than walking speed, and get to the gate a bit faster. Or you can casually walk onto the slidewalk, keep on walking along on it (there are usually signs (stand on the right, walk on the left, or suchlike), smoothly, without breaking stride and get to the gate much faster. The fat schlubs and the first time fliers from the bacckwoods, who in other countries would have their chickens with them, stand to the right. Those of us who want to get somewhere fly by 'em like a Barchetta past a school bus.

Anyway, the same thing goes with escalators. Walk right down (or up) 'em as if they were stationary stairs. Breeze right past the paralyzed standees as if they're displays of umbrellas. Step off the bottom like Gene Kelly off the curb.

Or take the elevator.....

Warmest regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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