Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Childhood Confessions – Little Metal Disks

Have you even gone up an escalator and noticed those little metal disks evenly spaced out in the little area between the up and down escalators? Do you know why they are there?

Those little metal disks are there because of kids like me.

Picture the escalators without those little metal disks. What you have without those disks is a very low friction; high speed metal slide that kids like me would ride until mall security kicked us out.

We used to go riding the escalators when we were kids. We would take the escalator up and then slide down in that area between the two escalators. It was quite a rush and there was the added adrenaline of doing something that was “technically” wrong and doing it in the face of people riding the escalators. It was great fun. You could really get going pretty fast on these make-shift slides.

The ones with the slide closer to the ground were good because the glass or metal between the escalators kept you from accidentally bumping into someone coming up or down the escalators. The bad part was the fact that being so close to the ground you only had two choices to end the ride. You could use your feet to slow yourself down to a stop - but what’s the fun in that? Secondly, you could go full speed and land on your butt and hope it didn’t hurt too much.

The escalators with the middle part raised to about the level of the hand-rails were preferred because it gave you a chance to slide down really fast and then stick a landing. The danger was in both the landing and being so close to the people riding the escalators up or down. The people could interfere with your ride or you could accidentally hit their hand resting on the hand-rail.

Most times, though, we just waited until there was nobody on the escalator or any security in sight. It was fun but now with those little metal disks in place – kids today with never have the chance to experience that fun (and as a parent I’m happy about that).

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