Sage and I were walking side by side around the mall yesterday. We were not holding hands because apparently age 5 is when one starts to become embarrassed to hold his mother's hand in public. Or it may be that he wanted to be free to wander to all the places he finds interesting since wherever I want to go is always too "boring." So we approach the escalator side by side, step on the metal platform side by side, and step onto the escalator side by...oops, wait a minute, where is Sage? I glance down and realize he is not by my side. I turn around to discover that he is still standing on the metal platform. For a moment I stand there shocked and descending while Sage looks at me with his eyebrows raised. I snap out of my shock and I whisper yell, "Sage, come on!!" He replies, "I can't, Mommy, I'm afraid to step on." (Sidenote: Sage has been on escalators before and he is not afraid of escalators. He was just freaked out about the taking the first step and I can totally understand that for who among us hasn't given pause as we stare down at that moving step, then another, then another, then another, then..sorry, back to topic) So I whisper yell again, "Just do it!!" Great advice, huh? Sage, "No, I am too scared."
Usually I would just ride down and then ride right back up to collect my child. But the problem is that the up escalator is not right beside the down escalator, it is a little further down the mall. Not very far, but far enough that Sage would be out of my eyesight for about one minute. This thought raises my anxiety level to orange. So I start stepping, trying to walk up the down escalator. After about 10 seconds I realize that I am not moving. What I mean is that my legs were moving, but I was making no progress in my climb. I increase the pace or so I thought and I am still going nowhere fast. Damn, this escalator is flying! So, I start to run up the stairs, trying my best to reach my baby. Finally I reach within 3 steps of the metal platform only to realize that I cannot traverse the moving flat part of the escalator without most likely having an incident. I call out to him, "Ok, step on." Sage "No." At that moment, I see a nice man walking by who is looking over at Sage in a concerned manner. He says something to him like "you ok, buddy?" then he sees me doing my mall stairmaster workout. I managed to say, "He's afraid to step on." So what does this nice man do? He smiles and keeps walking. Well, fuck you very much, kind sir.
At that point I just give up and just let the escalator take me. I yell up to Sage, "Stay right there. Do not move!! I am coming to get you!!" So my workout changes from stairmaster to speed walking down the mall to the up escalator, and then back to stairmaster as I run up. I finally have my beloved child in sight. He is standing on the metal platform tapping his toe on first moving step. I am almost to him when I hear an older lady remark to her friend, "Is anyone with that child?" I promptly claim him, "I am. He's with me." I take his hand and we step on the down escalator. As we are decending I look back to see the lady watching me and giving me a look that seems to say 'How could you leave your child alone playing near an escalator?' So I give her my own look back that says 'Lady, don't judge me 'cause I'll kick your ass. I work out!"