Escalator Phobia


When I was a kid, I used to hate escalators for some strange reason. I don’t remember the logic of why I hated them, I just did. Maybe I thought once when I got to the top of one as a child that it was going to gobble me up for some reason.

Whenever I went to Tampa International Airport, I had to take stairs or elevators to get from floor to floor, which wasn’t always the most convenient thing to take. This drove my parents crazy, allowing me to let these phobias control me instead of me controlling them.

In my middle school years, I took a PSTA bus to Pinellas Square Mall from west Largo one day. It doesn’t exist as it once did anymore, as a shopping center sharing an air-conditioned common corridor. It had loads of escalators to get from one level of the mall to the other. I got there one morning and just hopped on as many as I could find, and the phobia was gone.

Many years later, I was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1996. They had an entrance to the place by the monorails where you had to go through all these shops to get up to the casino, which required an escalator to get to. This one day, there’s a couple with a baby stroller above me, the wife (or girlfriend) is holding the baby, the guy holding the stroller.

When they get to the top, the wife and baby get off fine, but the guy is fumbling around with the stroller, and it gets stuck. I have someone to the left of me either a step up or down, so I’m stuck running into this guy if he can’t get the stroller out of the way.

As I’m thinking about what to say, only able to get out a mumble or two, the guy thankfully is able to get the stroller out of its tango with the top of the escalator. I breathe a sigh of relief, going on to whatever business I had that day, imaging what I would be thinking if I had still been an escalator-phobe.

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