We (my family + Jeidai’s family) went to a tall building that was a cross between a 13 story mall and a hotel (hotel occupying two extra floors at the top). My dad drove us (me + siblings + cousins) over there. He dropped us off at the side door. The boys ran off somewhere. Jeidai and SM00 decided to go to the food court.

We all got on the elevator, which was fully equipped with a pale-pink tiled restroom–toilet, sink and mirror. The only thing it was missing was walls and a door for privacy. Three other guys, college-aged, got on the elevator with us. In about two seconds, I was unofficially put in charge of pressing all the elevator buttons. Everyone named the level of their destination, but I got confused on what to do until one of the guys said, “Just press 1.” (?) Did that.

We started moving up, until we reached the food court. Jeidai and SM00 got off. I thought about joining them, but then I decided to investigate our rooms first. That quickly changed when one of the guys needed to use the built-in restroom. One of his friends saw that and said, “Oh okay, dude…we’ll leave you alone…” We all quickly got off the elevator, and I resorted to using the stairs, which was difficult…

Either the stairs were built for people who like playing on jungle gyms, or they were designed by an adventure game fan (think Super Mario 64). They started out like normal stairs like what you’d see at the mall. Then as you went higher, the stairs and the rest of the mall started looking like someone’s living room. Instead of tile, it would have beige/tan/champagne carpeting, white painted walls. And climbing the stairs was more, errr interesting. It was more like trying to get to Bowser 3 in Super Mario 64 (the gaps, the rotating platforms, and so on).

Of course, sometimes the stairs did split off into two, one for the adventure people, and one for people who just wanted to climb the stupid stairs so they could get from Floor A to Floor B. Except the second way was more like an adventure game for wimps (or it seemed like it seemed to say “wimp” all over it). I just took the first way.

After a while, I was starting to regret taking the stairs, not so much for the Mario 64-esque layout, but more for the instability. The builder must’ve been drunk at the moment. Everytime I put my foot down, the entire staircase swayed horizontally for awhile, then it’d calm down. It was like climbing inflatable stairs not properly attached to the wall. After climbing the stairs for a long time, I was shaking and crawling along the walkway to get to the next flight of stairs, making sure to stay precisely in the middle. ._. I thought, ‘Gee, I’ve been climbing these stairs for sometime. The hotel rooms must be on the next level.’ I looked up and saw more levels of stores and shops.

me :: T__T

Just as I was about to take on the next set of stairs, I turned and saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

It was an elevator. Either it was a different elevator from the one at the beginning, or I forgot that one of the guys was using the restroom in it. Bah. I went up to it, and met up with some kids, both boys and girls, around 10 years of age. They were counting out their change, and when they saw me, their faces lit up.

boy A :: “Hey, you wanna use the elevator?”
me :: “Sure.”
girl A :: “Okay.”

They each deposited their coins in a slot near the elevator door.

girl B ::hiding a grin:: “Uhhh, Giantpaper. It’s $10 to ride the elevator. $10 for every gallon.”
me ::confused::

Then I remembered since gas wasn’t exactly cheap, the mall was charging people to use their (gas-powered) elevators. It didn’t make sense to me. I mean, couldn’t someone just sneak onboard without anyone noticing? Or what if someone got on at the last minute?

At first, I was going to argue, but then I agreed to go along. I opened my wallet and only found change. But (while Girl B was grinning sweetly), I found a couple of fives, which made me reluctant, since I wanted to save them for Christmas shopping or anime merchandise. But I put them in the dollar slot, with a “$10” sticker above it.