Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not so Level-headed

Let me tell you the story
Of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket,
Kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Did he ever return,
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn'd
He may ride forever
'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned.
---The Kingston Trio

I briefly considered the possibility this past Sunday that I would soon become the stuff of urban legend as the woman who never emerged from the Mall of America. I entered the "largest indoor mall in the USA" in the late afternoon with sensible shoes, orthotics, a light sweater, and 2 hours to kill. A regular modern day Gretel sans bread crumbs, I noted a Finish Line store by the entrance and signs for "Bubba Gump's Restaurant, Level 3." Check, find the Finish Line on Level 3 when I'm set to go and I'm outta here, I thought, though weird that Level 3 is street level.

2 hours later. Feet throbbing, visions of a dark and cold Minneapolis late afternoon outside but inside I'm sweating in this stupid sweater and I've toured the entire perimeter of Level 3, passed one Finish Line store and spotted one below on Level 2, but alas now I'm in a carpeted stretch of corrider and no carpeting anywhere else thus far.

I picked up a "Help Line" and held for help.

Do you know where I am based on where I'm calling from, I asked the male helper.


So how do I reach the exit for the hotel shuttles from here.

The other side of the mall, Level 1.

Well, of course, Level 1 signs invite Level 1 shoppers to visit Bubba Gump's on Level 3. No one, not even in Minnesota, starts on a mall on Level 3. I took the elevator to Level 1, limped through the horror of the indoor amusement park, and emerged like some sweaty mall rat blinking small pink eyes in the bright, sunny late afternoon air.

This per Nina Silverstein and company in their book "Dementia and Wandering Behavior":

Alzheimer's patients do not get lost because they have forgotten where they are going, they get lost because they cannot keep track of where they've been.


Technonana said...

I have never been to the Mall of America, but two of my children have. My son was with his girlfriend, and like you, he didn't think he would ever get out!! Not because he was lost but because his girlfriend thought she had to visit EVERY STORE!!!lol!!!

JeanMac said...

I'd love that mall - well, I love any mall!

Wendy said...

Frustrating to say the least! Glad you managed to get out - sore feet and all, or else we'd be reading "Femail doc from somewhere in the biggest mall in the usa"