Thursday, May 28, 2009

Escalating Issues

An escalator can never break.
It can only become stairs.
You would never see an "Escalator temporarily out of order" sign, just "Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience."
-- Mitch Hedberg –

I’m going to mention a strange phenomenon I’ve personally observed, in hopes that I am not the only one who has ever observed it!
In all seriousness, I am worried because I feel that maybe this only applies to me, as in, I have something wrong with my brain, and/or the motor skills between my brain and my legs.
Here’s the thing When I get to an escalator that is not working, I all of a sudden forget how to walk on a stairway.
I’m not kidding.
First of all I sort of hesitate, hand on that nice 100% hygienically sound rubber banister rail, and my mind instantly says, “What the hell?”
But in the next second I realize the thing isn’t working and so I begin walking. But I find that I do so only very hesitantly. With reservation. And I feel off-balance, it’s the weirdest thing.
Walking up the steps is weird, but I find that the same thing happens walking down the escalator stairs, if the thing isn’t working. Something completely irrational happens. I’m scared as though all of a sudden going I’m going to pitch forward. So again, I walk ever so cautiously.
Yet when confronted with a stationary stairway I go bounding up or down the thing with nary a thought as to either of the trepidations outlined above.
Can anyone out there relate to what I am saying or is this a unique personal problem of mine?



Beth said...

A very important issue.
I can relate - I think it’s because I’m afraid the escalator is suddenly going to start moving. But I can’t really explain why that would make me walk the stairs with such fear and trepidation - surely I could quickly adjust if it did start up??

Merisi said...

Your brain is simply ahead of your legs and refuses to walk back down the steps and lift them - a mild form of TESS (Traumatic Escalator Stress Syndrome)!

Shark said...

Escalator steps are a lot larger than average stairs. You have to take much larger strides. It's actually a bit of a work out climbing one of those things.

Bee said...

I can relate to this, too. What Beth said, plus the steps are quite slippery somehow. And I don't know . . . it moves in my mind?

Stefanie said...

I can totally relate. I'm worried it's going to start moving all of a sudden. And also like Shark said, the steps are a lot bigger so when you have to walk them it is rather awkward.

kingmonkey said...

Stairs are of uniform height (ideally). When an escalator stops, it's not in a perfect, stair-step position. The last couple stairs on both the top and bottom will be of varying heights.

Given that we expect the stopped escalator to be a perfect stairwell, we automatically try to ascend them as normal, and are often finding our steps too deep or too shallow.

I hope I've been able to drain some of the whimsy out of the situation.

Cipriano said...

Terrific comments here. I think that yes, as Shark and Stefanie and Kingmonkey suggest, it must have to do with something about the size of the stairs themselves.
Perhaps the slippery factor, too, Bee.
The fear or expectation of it suddenly firing up again, good point, Beth.
And Merisi, it's true, it is a bit like the brain is all of a sudden ahead of the legs.
At least I am glad to know I am not alone in my escalaphobia!

Isabella K said...

I've stopped at automatic doors that fail to swing open suddenly forgetting that it's in my power to push.

Amy said...

I feel like the escalator is pulling down on me, making me heavier and making it harder to lift my legs, as if the escalator produces its own gravity field. It's definately a very odd feeling.