It would have been an innocent indulgence.
I was heading to TJ Maxx for a quick hit of retail therapy, on the way to the more honorable errand of food shopping. A small unannounced detour as a mood-lift on a grey January day.
Like some other guilty pleasures, often it’s mostly just looking.
But not today. I was stopped in my tracks by an “Out of Order” sign slung on the escalator in the lobby of my destination. I am not a fan of elevators, and the store is on the second floor. So the escalator up to the store is the only “lift” for me, except for the stairs which are closed from the lobby by an unfriendly “NO ACCESS” sign.
Faced with the alternative of boarding the elevator, I watched other naïve shoppers who seemed completely unbothered, and blithely stepped into the hazard-box.
This was not the first time I wasn’t up for entering the tiny, airless, steel container at the mercy of pulleys and gears. Judging by the declining health of the out-of-order escalator, for all I knew the elevator might also be up for a service inspection.
I tried to discern whether any of the box-riders appeared as if they might have either therapy or EMT training: Could they be counted on to distract me with Navy Seal-type breathing exercises if we ended up trapped together for hours? Or persuade me not to gnaw off a limb while waiting to be rescued?
Disappointed by all of them, including the escalator-taking-another-sick day, I aborted the unnecessary trip. Forced back on task by my disdain for elevators, I went for the groceries - all available at ground level, I might add.
And yet there is a silver lining:
Last year, that same escalator had a long-haul case of “Out of Order” that went on for weeks. And I abandoned lots of little shopping trips.
I estimate elevator-dread has saved me hundreds of dollars.