Monday, April 21, 2008

It isn't easy getting to the top.

Today, one of my longtime girlfriends was in town, so we were supposed to meet up for lunch. She was bringing her adorable 2.5 year-old son (aka mini-man), so her only request for lunch was somewhere that wouldn't freak out about kids or SUV-size strollers. Having just read this article, I was all for avoiding unnecessary rage from restaurant owners or eaters.

Since her hotel was near the Eaton Centre, I thought I would be a good friend and try to make things simple, so she wouldn't have to walk 500 miles or get lost.

I told her we could meet at Mr. Greenjeans. I figured any place that serves popcorn shrimp in a popcorn container with popcorn had to be kid-friendly. I emailed her directions on how to find it: "Once you get inside the mall, head toward Sears. Outside the store, look up to the top level and you'll see Mr. Greenjeans and the escalator to take you there."

She wrote back to say that she loved how precise I was about how to find the restaurant.

I smiled, thinking that I was so organized. I could have a baby, I thought. I had it all figured out.

Huh. Hardly.

As I was taking the escalator up to Mr. Greenjeans I suddenly wondered if it's actually possible to take a stroller up an escalator. I had no idea. I looked back down to see my friend below.

She: "How am I going to get up?"

I went back down the escalator.

Me: "How about you take mini-man out of the stroller and then I'll take the stroller up. That way, if some catastrophe occurs, it'll just be me and the stroller that goes flying."

She: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Yes. I'll be fine. But you better go in front of me in case I fall backward."

Mini-man: "Choo-choo." Mini-man is obsessed with Thomas the Tank. He got out of his stroller and onto the escalator. I guess he thought it was a train. It was all very exciting to him.

I'm not sure what I was envisioning would happen on the escalator. She started up and I pushed the stroller forward. The front wheels started going up the stairs but me and the rest of the stroller stayed put. I kept pushing but nothing happened. "Help." I said, not loud enough for really anyone to hear. There was a backlog of people trying to get up the escalator. I yanked on the stroller and we fell backward. My friend got to the top and saw me at the bottom. She came back down.

She: "There's a sign at the top that says No Strollers on Escalator."

Me: "Apparently."

There was an elevator to the left, but while it stopped on the Level 4 (where we needed to go), it didn't stop on Level 3, which we were stuck on. We needed to go down, but how far? We went into Sears to find another elevator that would take us down to the basement so that we could get onto the elevator that would take us to the top floor. We got on. We went down. We got off and walked back through Sears to the mall to where the elevator should've been. It wasn't there. We were on the wrong level.

Me: "Should we just go to the food court?"

She: "We'll still need to go down one more floor. So we might as well just stick to the original plan."

We walked back to Sears to the elevator and went down another floor, but it wouldn't stop on that floor even though we'd pushed the button.

A maintenance guy got onto the elevator at the very bottom level.

Us: "We can't get off on -2."

He: "It doesn't stop there. You have to go to -1."

Us: "But we need to be on -2 to get to the other elevator that goes to level 4."

He: "You have to get out on -1 then walk back out toward the subway and take the elevator out there."

So that's what we did. But on that elevator, the only floor options were 1, 2 and 3.

Me: "We were on -1. We need to get to -2. Which button should we push?" I asked my friend.

She: "2?"

We pushed 2. The door opened. Apparently we were on 2.

I pushed 3, thinking maybe the numbers were in reverse. We went up. I pushed 1. We went down to the basement.

We walked back out into the mall. The place where the elevator should've been was not there. Apparently it was the elevator to nowhere.

We found another elevator on the opposite side of the mall. We tried to go up to level 4 but it only went to level 3 and then skipped the elusive level and went to the parking garages. Since we didn't want a Seinfeld episode we got off at level 3. Exactly where we'd started half an hour ago.

And then, we looked up and saw the second level to Indigo, which is right beside Mr. Greenjeans. Surely Indigo, which has an entire section devoted to kids, would have an elevator for moms with strollers. Otherwise, how would the kids ever get to the kids section?

My friend looked at me. "We can't go in there."

Me: "Why not?"

She: "When I asked the waiter at breakfast how to get to the mall, he told me I should go to Indigo because they have a train."

Mini-man: "Train! Train!"

She: "I promised mini-man we'd go play with the train after lunch. If he sees it now, we'll never make it to lunch."

Me: "But we have to. It's the only way."

I'm not sure at this point why we didn't just go to the food court, but I think neither of us could get on another elevator unless it would take us directly to Mr. Greenjeans. I wasn't sure how many more elevators mini-man could take.

Mini-man: "Lot of elevators."

Me: "Yes. Sorry."

Mini-man: "Jingle bells, jingle bells."

She: "He also likes Christmas songs."

We headed to Indigo. We found an elevator. I didn't tell my friend until we were in it that the only way out was through the kids section. When I told her she looked at me.

She: "Run."

So we ran through Indigo, past the trains, and out into the top floor, where Mr. Greenjeans let us park the stroller outside and then gave mini-man a booster seat and his own kids menu.

Forty-five minutes later after we'd first met at the mall, mini-man ordered his own cheese pizza. We ordered martinis.
Clearly I'm not ready to be a mom. At least not one with a stroller. Maybe if I ever have a baby he/she will come out ready to walk.


Janine said...

Fun post, lady! But now I need a martini myself, and I'm more sure than ever that instead of kids, I'll be getting myself a goldfish.

heather said...

The Eaton Centre is the absolute *worst* place in the city to have a stroller. Ever since making the first attempt to take a girlfriend and her munchkin shopping when they came to town we have avoided that place like the plague.