The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

When was the last time you saw a baby in a pram on the escalator stairs of a multi-level shopping centre? Never? Me either. Yet, there’s babies in prams on every level. How did they get there? WHAT’S GOING ON???

I have a couple theories. Maybe the shop owners on the upper levels live their entire lives trapped on their particular level. Kind of like Tom Hanks in that airport movie or Carrie-Anne’s Poltergeist trapped in its dimension and unable to move on into the light. As generations pass, they meet and interbreed with other shop owners on their floor, have babies and the cycle continues. Which explains why there are always food courts, supermarkets and bathroom facilities on every level.

Or perhaps multi-level shopping centres are located on mysterious ley lines that criss-cross the earth and have access to inter dimensional wormholes that enable parents with prams to mysteriously travel between floors, completely undetected. Or prams somehow have the ability to materialize from floor-to-floor somewhat akin to the blue Police Box TARDIS from Doctor Who?

Believe it or not, the real answer is not that far removed from those theories.

There’s a secret about shopping centres I wasn’t aware of until I became a dad. A secret nobody talks about. And I don’t mean Fight Club. Mind you, if you find yourself in Myers during a stocktake sale or anywhere near the red light special in NQR, it may be a different story.

There is in fact, a mysterious silver TARDIS box that acts like a Stargate wormhole, transporting you through time and space between floors. The secret box I speak of, is…

The Secret…Shopping Centre Elevator

And I don’t mean the one you catch from the car park. I mean, there’s another secret interfloor network of elevators throughout the entire centre, that people without prams have no idea about. A hidden world off the beaten track, beyond the looking glass, existing only in your peripheral vision.

Sneaky hidden corridors that leave you wondering if you’re Don Adams sneaking into the underground headquarters of CONTROL…or trying to get to K-mart on Level 2.

Specifically made for people with prams. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. But somehow, my wife seemed to be psychically drawn to their locations as if she’d always known about them. And there’s this weird knowing nod, that other parents give you when you join them in the elevator. The same type of nod that bald nightclub bouncers and security guards give to other bald men when entering the premises. The kind of nod that says, “Yeah, I get it. You’re cool.”

It’s like being part of an elitist club with a strict “babies only” policy. And god help any man without a pram who thumbs a ride because he’s too lazy to use the escalator. I sure hope you’re wearing kevlar, cause you’re about to get stabbed. Hell hath no fury like an elevator full of territorial mums. What exactly is the collective noun for an elevator of mothers? Oh, that’s right. It’s called, “I’ll catch the next one”…if you’re smart. (Ha, Get Smart. Get it?) 🙂

But it’s a weird insight into a secret world I never knew existed. And as my journey into fatherhood continues, I’m constantly reminded of the various opportunities that will no doubt present themselves. And where one door closes, another one opens. And maybe, just maybe…that door leads to yet another mysterious as yet untouched world for me to discover.

I think Scully & Mulder said it best…the truth is out there.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  1. I hate to tell you Justin but…..I use the escalator!! It’s sooo easy with a jogging pram. You just tilt the pram slightly backwards and “Bob’s your uncle”. I refuse to walk around half a shopping centre (to the lift) to arrive just a few feet away from where I actually started, just on a different level. My husband gets mortified EVERY time I do it. It’s like I’m a criminal, or worse, an Essendon supporter! He gets so embarrassed but prey tell I have a life and I’ll do my power walking on my time, not shopping centre managements! Be a rebel, try it, it’ll open a whole new world of possibilities…..good luck x

  2. A jogging pram? How many clicks does it get before it puffs out? Sounds like you need running shoes just to keep up with it. Right with you there on the Don supporting, egad. Truth be told, when I was at university, I was about to step onto the down escalator on the top level of a dept store, and the old lady in front of me toppled all the way down to the very bottom. It was an horrendous moment that I will never forget (and I only poked her “one” time). So, I’m always a little dubious when it comes to escalators…and little old ladies 😉

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