Tops of Escalators

Probably another symptom of sleep deprivation. Here, exposed. My deep dark secret. Sigh. Well, now you know it all. And I couldn’t have done this in a less flattering angle. But anything for my art! My video explains it, but here is a good piece by a British writer about her fear of escalators and how she overcame it. She feels dizzy. I don’t feel that; it’s more a concern for my children and a bit me. Uh, I feel so ashamed. Like I just admitted I wet my bed. Did you know there is a name for fear of escalators? It’s called Escalaphobia.

Here is some stuff from about.com.  Italics are mine.

Elevator Myths & Fears

  • MYTH: The biggest myth about escalators is that you don’t have to pay much attention to them. TRUTH: Escalators are six-ton moving machines and should be treated as such. Pay the same attention to an escalator as you would to a moving bus.
    Oh, great, that makes me feel a lot better.
  • MYTH: The steps will flatten out and all the people will slide down. TRUTH: This is impossible. Each step is a full triangular structure consisting of tread and riser supported on a track and cannot flatten out.
    But can it claw at you?
  • MYTH: Many times people think that escalators move too fast.TRUTH: They move at only normal walking speed. The misconception is probably due to the visual perception created when you are standing still and everything else appears to be moving.
    I can’t hear you I’m heading for the stairs.
  • MYTH: Children often think that the steps fall into the basement and have to be restacked every morning. TRUTH: Escalator steps move on an endless chain system. At the bottom they rotate under and over up the underside of the chain to reappear at the top.
    Over crushed bones
  • MYTH: Escalators can reach out and grab you. TRUTH: No part of an escalator can do this. But people must be careful of loose clothes, untied or long shoelaces, high heels, long hair, long jewelry, etc. because these can get caught in an escalator’s machinery.
    See I told you!
  • MYTH: Escalators will stop and restart themselves. TRUTH: Escalators only stop if they are stopped by the specially designed STOP button, or if there is an obstruction or over speed. Once stopped, escalators can only be restarted by someone with a restart key.
    Hmm, maybe I should stop it, then I could get on.
  • MYTH: If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs. TRUTH: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is increased
  • Yeah, but great for working your glutes.

19 thoughts on “Tops of Escalators

  1. I’m sorry Daphne, I am also a bit afraid of escalators because I’ve had two accidents on them. Not sure if sharing them with you will make your fear worse but they weren’t that terrible.

    The first time it was Christmas Eve and I was in Macy’s in 34th Street in NYC. I wasn’t paying attention as I was going up the escalators and my long skirt started getting pulled in through the sides of the escalators until the escalators STOPPED. I was mortified, so embarrassed because the store was so crowded and there I was unable to move because the escalator had eaten my skirt. I wasn’t injured or anything, the skirt was pretty stretchy. I was just stuck there wishing to die while we waited for security. People were walking off the escalator and giving me the strangest glares. The maintenance peopole just put the escalators in reverse and it gave me back my torn skirt. Macy’s let me pick out a skirt of my choice.

    Another time we were on vacation in Prague and the escalators were just as you described when you went to England. They were long and narrow and very steep. I think my heel got stuck and that’s how I started tumbling down and landed on all fours on the middle steps and finished the rest of the long ride down on all fours. When my husband saw that I wasn’t badly hurt he went to a corner and laughed hysterically.

    For these two reasons I rarely go on escalators and when I do I am super extra careful, especially when my kids are with me–they LOVE escalators.

  2. Oh, I used to be so afraid of escalators. My mother would just yank me by the arm and drag me up. It was awful.

    As I became older, I’d just hesitate at the bottom, trying to get my courage up, and waiting for “the perfect time” to jump on. Add a few people impatiently behind you, and it was cause for major sweats.

    Then, I just forgot about that…but now I remember it all. I used to be really scared of walking across those see through grated bridges, too. Precious Jesus, it was awful and heart pounding.

    Now I’m just scared and become light headed at the thought of left hand turns!! ARGH!

  3. I’m wondering how you feel about the moving side walks?

    Can you go up the escalator?

    I’m OK with escalator’s until it’s time to get off. I’ve never got the rhythm it takes to just step off and keep going. There is always this awkward new born dear learning to walk moment while everyone piles up behind me.

  4. even going up doesn’t bother me, its just going down! glad macy’s gave you a skirt Fa. and glad to know that even though you had mishaps your flesh wasn’t shredded.

    and as always…glad it’s not just me!

  5. I so share this fear, and it got worse when I had a kid too. I stand at the top of the escalator and feel like I’m about to go down a 100-foot drop on a roller coaster. It’s the closest I’ve come to a full-blown panic attack. And of course my daughter is fearless and tries to walk down, dragging me with her toward certain death.

    Thank god for Cabernet and bedtime.

  6. Daphne,
    You are not alone girl! I am petrified of escalators, partly because I now have mobility issues because of a rare spinal cord condition that wasn’t discovered until I was 48. I can’t always tell where my feet are. But, even before that I had problems. I grew up in a small villiage outside of a small city in Canada and our city only had 1 escalator. That was a big deal and I had a real love/hate relationship with that monster. And now, going up an escalator is fine, if I must, but coming down is like a cartoon when they try to take a cat somewhere and the cat’s claws become embedded in the ceiling and the ceiling comes with you. And when I’m near the top, it’s like standing at the top of the CN tower with no fences, glass or guardrails. I feel like a strong wind would just push me over the edge. Someone told me once about some statistic that escalators cause so much percentage of serious injuries to kids. Yikes, even snakes don’t creep me out this much. Years ago at a LLL International convention (lots of mothers and children) in Toronto I saw a little boy whose shoe lace got caught in the escalator and there was a huge hysterical screaming scene until someone pressed the emergency stop button. That meant many of the people on the escalator at that moment (many Moms with babies) fell, because of the sudden stop. Now I have to go have a bottle or so of wine so I can stop thinking about it!
    P.S. There’s another long story about how the hotel tried to cope with the emergency and the reality that there were several hundreds of small children attending with their mothers. I’ll save it for the next time Daphne wants to drive me to a whimpering drunken evening. 😉

    NOTE FROM DAPHNE: Nicely written, thanks for this.. I think.

  7. Escalators scare me to death! I’m developed a few workarounds like elevators and stairs for the days I just can’t get up enough nerve. A vivid memory I have from back in the day… my mother had my sister in one arm, the stroller, shopping bags, and my brother when I decided not to get on the escalator. We were in Montgomery Wards, I was screaming I can’t get on, my Mom was half crazed because she was at the bottom and I was at the top. Perfect strangers were offering to help me, which didn’t help. After about 15 minutes of me screaming and her begging me to get on, and a crowd forming to watch how this was going to play out, I stepped on, applause broke out. I just don’t like the idea of all that metal moving so fast along with the fact I’m a klutz and have stumbled both getting on and off since birth.

    P.S. This fear carries over to ski lifts as well. I’ve learned the only way I can ride them is if I’m accompanied by a small child in which case they will sort of stop the lift let you get on and at the top they do the same. Of course if I don’t get that belt fastened within the first 5 seconds the whole fear of heights kicks in and we ride “la natural” all the way up because I am paralyzed with fear.

  8. I don’t like esculators either! I’m scared when I have to jump on for a ride! I had a run in with the evil things a few years ago! I lost my balance at the top and the next thing I know I’m hanging onto the rail with my legs trailing behind me! I got to the bottom and the front of my shins look like a shark has been munching on them… very painful and not a pretty sight! I couldn’t walk properly for 2 weeks and still have the scars! Ironically I had just bought a pair of knee high boots!!! Pity I wasn’t wearing them 🙂

  9. ah you’re right! post-baby i’ll probably start being afraid of escalators – i’ve heard plane phobias get worse – and add some nutty things like freeway driving and clowns.

    NOTE FROM DAPHNE:LOL very funny

  10. You nutbar! 😉

    Yeah, had a fear of escalators myself after my shoelace got caught in one and had I not had the teen sense to ditch the shoe I am not sure what would have happened.

    Got over that when the kids were younger and so eager to play on the escalators.. (What can I say, country folk we are)..

    Interesting though as I would imagine most people have a greater fear of elevators as opposed to escalators…

    On that note I hated flying and was a complete mess about it until only recently. I understand your fear..

  11. Bluejeanamy. I too was completely freaked about flying.. If you are not adverse to taking meds you too can cure yourself 🙂 Each time I had to fly I would get an RX of ativan. Some to take to combat the anxiety of flying… one to take when arriving at airport and one, if need be as I was seated in plane.

    10 years later I fly like a bird :)) Reassured by all the statistics that flying is safer then getting your bathtub and all that but most of all because I am CALM when I settle in my seat..

  12. yes, and what are the stats of escalators? I am so gratified this is not just my koo-koo fear. But, maybe there is a connection between bloggers/readers of blogs and escalator fear? I really hate being fearful in front of my kids. maybe I should get the hypnosis.
    thank you all so much for weighing in on this.
    ps
    Alice just looked your site. What great pictures. Really lovely. If I was in Virginia I would love you to photograph my kids.

  13. OK I tried to find the stats I was remembering and so far I haven’t. I’m still looking so in the mean time take a peek at this site:

    http://www.eesf.org/

    Ladies I am happy to announce we are NOT alone on this little escalator fearing planet of ours!! Makes me feel about 8% less crazy than before I read all the stuff I stumbled upon. (no pun intended) I found ads for upstanding folks (again no pun intended) who earn money being expert witnesses in escalator lawsuits. And I found a whole lot of other fascinating stuff that pops up when you google “escalator accidents” WHEW!!

    Here’s another happy statistic:
    30 people are maimed or killed by faulty escalators everyday. 85% are caused by worn, damaged or faulty escalator equipment and could be prevented.

    On another site that I found, I knew that if I continued to read beyond the first few lines, I would be waddling around with pillows strapped to every limb and wearing full hockey gear over top of my football pads. Nothing I like to start the day with but a fresh, new, obsessive fear . . . . . . . . .

    http://www.hurt911.org/welcome.php?to_page=accident.php

    A book for all of us escalator-phobics wish list at Amazon

    http://tinyurl.com/ycrqtab

    Line below quoted from the following site:
    http://www.esp.ca/standards.html

    ” Last year, the number of people injured in such accidents nationally — one rough estimate puts it at close to 18,000 — shot up by nearly 20 percent.”

    And have someone watch the following video for you so that they can assure you yet again that escalators are safe. Go on, let them try lying to you after watching this!! OMG!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzRDWSYegNM&feature=fvw

    I will close with the following quote from the Toronto Globe Article above:

    “Millions of Americans ride elevators and escalators without incident every day. But Bernard Dolan, an elevator consultant, says, “You are taking a risk as the general public riding elevators. There is a high percentage of unreliability.” Even Public Safety Commissioner Larry F. Giordano, in charge of overseeing the inspection of all elevators and escalators in Massachusetts, is cautious. Giordano, who resigned unexpectedly Friday, confided, “I don’t like elevators or escalators. I use the stairs.”

    Daphne, you have really started something and I hope you are proud of yourself!! I had to make myself stop reading this stuff. So don’t go look at any of the links I posted here. I’m warning you, just DON’T DO IT!!!

  14. Daph – Am I the only one who thought that you were totally hilarious in this video? Maybe I have a sick sense of humor but I was laughing out loud towards the end….. 🙂

  15. bahahahahaha! Why the hell aren’t you on proper tv woman?! You have more talent than most celebs have in the big toes! It’s a scandal!

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