Escalators

Let’s talk about escalators. Let’s really talk about them.

Firstly, who in their right mind thought that a moving staircase was a good idea? As if I don’t have enough problems going up and down regular, non-mobile stairs, yea, why not, let’s make the stairs move. Minus 30 points from Gryffindor!

Humans with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders), Sensory Disorders, inner ear issues, can I get an amen?!

The Problem

The flaw is in the design, actually. The fact that escalators are usually in large, open areas does not help that when you are on them, you feel like you are flying through space and time. In addition to this, the walls that connect the handrail to the actual staircase are usually clear/see through. As in, I can see the world moving around me, but my body is completely still. And then my vestibular system is all like, “WHAT’S GOING ON. STOP.”

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As I prepare myself to get onto the death trap escalator, humans gather behind me and I can feel their sense of impatience growing indefinitely. Except it’s worse because it’s a collective social impatience; like a giant ugly blob of peer pressure.

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Escalators are terrible aside from the possible threat of being sucked into the machinery, underneath the floor and down into the deepest pit of hell.  Momsy always warned me of that when I was younger. Thanks mom.

Humans of my neurotype are not designed to casually walk on and off an escalator. The idea of going from a flat, stable surface to one that is moving uphill or downhill is not only disturbing, but highly unproductive. As much as I would like to, my body struggles to use an escalator.  I have comprised a list of several steps which I take when dealing with escalators:

1. Prepare body, mind, and spirit for descent/elevation via moving stairs. This is a personal experience unique to each individual.

2. Allow other humans to go ahead of you, knowing your escalator experience will take longer. This will avoid collective social impatience to build up behind you.

3. When the time has come, select a stair as it emerges from the start of the staircase. But choose quickly, or else you will miss it, and then have to pretend you weren’t going for that stair in the first place.

4. Now comes the hard part, in a matter of mere seconds, you must hurl your body through the air and securely onto the chosen step before it begins its journey.

5. Once on the step, grab hold of the handrail, which may or may not be covered in germs. If so, casually grab the nearest person who will (hopefully) be less germy. Hold onto them for as long as socially possible. Don’t make eye contact.

6. Don’t look down, up, sideways, left, or right. Closing your eyes only will help sometimes. Just don’t look anywhere…pretend your on a tropical island sipping a martini.

7. Once you find yourself towards solid ground again, prepare yourself for dismount. Let go of the handrail or stranger, and bend your knees slightly. Focus on your landing spot. It’s all you now.

8. Quickly jump off, and land on both feet. Use your arms (or a stranger again if necessary) to stable yourself. Be as nonchalant as possible.

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Implications

The more I think about this escalator stuff, it’s absolutely absurd.  My whole life, whenever I encountered an escalator, I’ve always had to find a REAL staircase or an elevator to use instead because the escalator was so irrational.

Side note: the elevator being used for an escalator alternative has to have solid walls, and not see-through walls, because I can’t handle that see-through crap sauce as I’ve already explained.

I am the member of the family that refuses to go down the escalator at the mall. I am the one that causes the hassle for everyone. My family knows this and I’m glad they enjoy themselves as they watch me attempt to tackle an escalator. Also, don’t ask me why I even go to malls because I don’t know, alright?

To this day, I believe the escalator is a traumatic torture device used to publicly humiliate me and others like me who experience a neurological disconnect from the modern world. Humans are not designed evolutionarily to travel via moving staircase. It’s just WRONG.

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In the end, the escalator and I have slightly improved our relationship over time. Do I still sweat like a sinner in church when I approach an escalator. You bet. Do I get on it and off it and do the best I can despite the ridiculousness of the situation. Yes.

Buddy the Elf knows what I’m talking about. Look at that form:

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You can see the collective social impatience building up behind him. Everything I said was true.

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10 comments

  1. While I can not relate to your escalator issues*, it was hilarious to read, and I love your illustrations!

    * I have other shopping mall issues, which don’t have the entertainment potential of escalator issues.

    1. Ahh, but I think nearly everything has the potential for entertainment! Humor has been my best coping mechanism. I don’t know how I would be able to handle everything without being able to laugh at myself.

      1. That is a lovely coping mechanism… I love your cartoons.

        You are right that nearly everything has the potential for entertainment. However, there is something inherently comical about escalators because I think a lot of people have secretly feared them at some point in their lives… Which kid has not had at least one nightmare about being too slow to move the feet off the escalator when it reached the top, and then being sucked into whatever horrific underworld it is the moving steps travel through before they again appear at the bottom of the escalator! … And your vision of Hell fits right in there:-)

  2. Escalators are my arch nemesis. I hate them so much. They make my heart race and my hands sweat, ugh, I could go on forever on my hatred of them. I will only attempt it if I am with my family who forces me, I’m in comfortable shoes, and i am not carrying anything in my hands. My husband and kids don’t understand at all. Then I clutch the rail so hard my hands go numb. I have to go last so I can stare at someone’s back, and I’ll start to panic if they aren’t getting off fast enough.

    I love your blog, keep it up!

    1. That was a PERFECT description. I don’t know about you, but I’m always able to go up much easier than I am going down. For some reason, down really messes with me. HUMANS WERE NOT MEANT TO BE ON MOVING STAIRCASES.:p

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