Sunday, October 19, 2008
I did not.
Vic's birthday is coming soon. As a gift, I thought I would relate this little tale from his visit to St Louis.
You may not know that one can actually ascend to the top of the Arch. People go up in a 4-5 minute ride on a tram: the "cars" are tiny, bizarre pods from a B space movie (see pic). They hold 5 people each, knees touching.
Vic and I were in a long line to go up, on a Saturday afternoon. A ticketing agent comes by and asks us if we are traveling together. Cleverly, Vic says "yes but we can go as two singles if that works". We are handed two tickets: a #2 and #3. Having gone up before, I knew we would travel separately but I figured that would be fine.
We go through turnstiles and past security (after all, this is a National monument), and stand in adjacent lines to enter into the pods.
Inexplicably, Vic scoots over into my line. Wide-eyed, I look at him and tell him that we can't go in the same line. There are finite seats, and security will freak, and, and...
He opens his arms and floats his arms downward. In a long drawl, he says "Reeeeeellaaaaaaaaax".
Then, the pods open and newly-descended visitors crawl out of them. It becomes immediately apparent to Vic that there is no way this is going to work. He scoots back into the other line. I rub my temples and wonder if our imminent arrest will make it into the Eastern Graphic.
The Plot Thickens
The ascent is long. The pods lurch to-and-fro. It is noisy, jangly, and though one can't see outside, one can see a lot of pulleys and chains outside the little window.
At the top, a full 5 minutes later, we emerge from our respective pods. Vic looks pretty green. In my best Maritime accent, I say "how'd you like that, now?".
His response was terse and serious: I did not.
Apparently, we suffer from claustrophobia, and we weren't prepared for these little pods. On his ride up, some passengers -- kids -- talked a lot about a time when a malfunction caused people to be trapped in these things for 8+ hours. This was getting very interesting.
After a quick look around (which isn't nearly as cool as the ride up), Vic announces that he has seen what he needs to see and it is time to go. He notes that it is quite windy, and though the CN Tower is far taller than the Arch, the Arch has more sway to it. He doesn't look so good.
I tell him that we should stay a bit until the crowd clears. He looks at me and just shakes his head quietly.
Then, with all the irony I can muster, I outstretch my arms, floating my hands calmy downward, and with a long, drawl:
ps. Happy Birthday Vic