Growing up, I loved escalators. There was no place in our town that had any (unless my parents were holding out on me), so it was a real treat to go somewhere with an escalator. It was like an amusement park ride. I guess when you grow up in the country, you are easily thrilled.
As an adult who now been to many more places and experienced countless escalator experiences, you would think that the novelty would have worn off. But I think my childhood lacked escalators so much that adult me has had an uncontrollable urge to make up for lost time. So escalators continued to make me happy.
When I moved to a town where the nearest mall had multiple escalators, I felt like I'd finally made it in life. I was a successful girl about town whose day-to-day errands could easily involve riding escalators. No big deal, that's just life now.
One day at the mall, my 2-year-old son was very interested in the escalator. His dad and I were shopping with him, and his dad held his hand as they rode the escalator up, then down, up, then down. I snapped pictures with my phone and beamed with pride over how my son's childhood was going to be filled with escalator goodness. Unlimited escalators, kid! Bask in the glory!
The next time my son and I were at the mall, it was just the two of us. I needed to get some shoes, and the shoe store was on the second level. Carrying just the diaper bag, I held my hand's son as we smoothly glided up to the second level on the magical moving stairs, living the dream. Four pairs of shoes later, we were ready to ride back down to the first level.
I was still carrying the diaper bag, and now I was also holding two shopping bags, each with two shoe boxes. As we approached the top of the escalator, I adjusted the diaper bag on my right shoulder and held both shopping bags with my right hand, freeing up my left hand to hold on tightly to my son's hand. I wanted to be very careful as he stepped on the escalator so he wouldn't stumble.
Holding his hand, I stepped onto the escalator. He should have done the same, but as I started moving down, he resisted joining me and instead yanked back on my hand. You wouldn't think a two-year-old would have so much power, but I think that all of the baggage on my right side really threw off my balance.
So down the escalator I fell.
Unfortunately, I was still holding my son's hand with a death grip, you know, to make sure he safely got on the escalator. So he tumbled down with me. We came to a stop about halfway down the escalator. I immediately had three concerns, in this order: my son, my shoes, myself. I looked over at my son and saw that he was perfectly fine, other than a look of surprise on his face (that made two of us). His shocked face quickly changed into a huge grin.
Okay, he was fine.
I had also maintained the same death grip with my other hand and was holding my shopping bags. My shoes were safe. Now I just had myself to worry about. Hey, what's this searing pain...? I was wearing shorts, so I of course had bare legs that the teeth of the escalator had scraped like cheese getting grated. I stood up and tried to play it cool, looking around to see if anyone noticed, even though I knew nobody in the area could have missed the spectacle.
There were actually two security guards who were traveling on the up escalator. Neither of them said a word to me as we cruised past each other. I could tell that if either of them opened their mouths, they would have started laughing. So they made the wise choice of not saying anything to me. Amazingly, nobody said a word to me. Everybody stared in stunned silence, horrified for me and also seeming to respect that the embarrassment of a fall is exponentially worsened based on the number of people who rush to your aid to ask if you're okay.
We reached the end of the escalator ride and stepped onto steady floor. I looked down at my legs, blood-flecks among my scraped off skin. I looked down at my son. He still had that huge grin on his face as he said, "Let's do it again!"
At least his enthusiasm for escalators wasn't ruined.