mall

Successful Mall Girl is Successful

Once upon a time, like last week, I went to the mall to do some shopping. 

(All of my SPD friends can get up off the floor now, as I’m certain all of you must have fallen out of your chairs with the sentence you just read).

But fear not, bloggy friends! Not only did I go to the mall, but I went BY MYSELF, and….

I LIVED TO BLOG ABOUT IT.

Is this a miracle? You could say that.

Is this a product of my fearless badassery and warrior-like approach to my entire life? Mostly.

Is this a freaky incident that I tried to savor as much as possible because it was so unbelievable. Yes.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to recollect my astounding mall experience.

First, I had to make it through the parking lot. An SPD’er in a parking lot is usually a recipe for disaster. One horn, one beep – we are done. When I strolled through the lot, bracing myself against the painful NY coldness, I was like prey being hunted by my predator. Yet as I passed car after car, nothing happened. I hauled open the heavy doors of Dick’s Sporting Goods and threw myself inside. Awesomesauce, I thought.

Once inside, I tried to pretend like I was a very capable young woman on a shopping adventure. I also knew it was important for an SPD’er such as myself to review my body awareness – am I walking straight? Do I look like I’m dying? Do I appear as if I’m in need of psychiatric help? If YES, then it’s time to find the nearest exit. It’s a simple evaluation process:

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Luckily, I was fine. Everything checked out.

Being inside the mall is one thing, but then you must have to deal with the specific environment of each store WTIHIN the mall. I began my journey at the ever-sexy Victoria’s Secret.

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I was anxious. What if something happened inside? I was alone! Also, oh yea, I HAVE SPD.

Amazingly, the only bad thing that happened inside Victoria’s Secret was a shattered sense of self-esteem and general uncomfortableness.

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After Victoria’s Secret, I did everything that a good little SPD human was supposed to do. I avoided candle stores. I stayed away from the food court. I dodged screaming children. However, I did do something bad….

I WENT INTO HOT TOPIC.

For those of you who don’t know, Hot Topic is a scary-looking store on the outside with lots of interesting things on the inside: Harry Potter, Frozen, Walking Dead, Disney Princesses, Adventure Time, music, earrings, magic, delight, etc.

The music in Hot Topic usually is overwhelmingly loud and as much as I love the merchandise, this place kills my SPD.

BUT AGAIN, I MARCHED OUT COMPLETELY UNTOUCHED. ANOTHER MIRACLE.

What’s happening??! I thought to myself. I should do MORE stuff!

So what did I do?

I GOT A PRETZEL AND SOME LEMONADE.

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I sat on a bench, enjoyed my salty pretzel and sweet lemonade. I chuckled at the funny array of people, myself included. I felt so blessed to be doing all of it. At the same time, I remained vigilant for my top enemy.

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I somehow managed to survive the encounter, so I kept going.

Through Hallmark, Macy’s, and the cheesy leather goods emporium, I frollicked like the very normal shopper that I was so desperately trying to be.

It was surreal; it was exciting; and dare I say, enjoyable?

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THE FINALE

One of my greatest foes in life has to be escalators. In fact, the very first post I made on this blog was about escalators. This is the level of seriousness I’m talking about here.

Due to my perfect record so far that day, in addition to my overwhelming desire to be a complete BEAST, I marched towards the great escalators, and then I stood before them as one would do if they were about to destroy their enemy.

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Escalator was all like:

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And I was all like:

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AND THEN I WAS LIKE:

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Then it was over.

No traumatic escalator experience. I mean, I held on for dear life and looked so awkward that I could’ve out-awkwarded anyone in a 10 mile radius. BUT WHO CARES….I DID IT.

While it wasn’t a perfect time at the mall, it also wasn’t a complete disaster. More importantly, I went ALONE. I had nobody to fall back on if necessary, but I did it anyway. The successfulness of this day was in the very fact that I conquered my anxieties by going to the mall by myself while experiencing anxiety, and being ok with the unease.

I’m not sure why the sensory gods blessed me with a nice trip to the mall, but they did. I left on Cloud 9, wherever that is. Probably near here:

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xo kelly

Also, I was only there for about 2 hours. This post makes it sound like I was there for 10 hours. Just wanted to let you all know…I’m pretty beast, but I’m not 10 hours beast.

 

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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.