Doesn’t the title of this post sound like the title of a children’s story book? Sort of like “Curious George Goes to the Hospital”?
Tomorrow Kitty and Zip are playing in a music competition held at a university in the city. Whenever we talk of that university or the music competition, we smile, remembering the first time Kitty went there.
To preface this story, I should explain that our family has lived in a major metropolitan area for almost three decades. And by major metropolitan area, I mean we live near the second (or is it now the third?) largest city in the US. That city, Chicago, is home to more than a few high-rise buildings. Himself and I are quite familiar with high-rise buildings. Back in my career-girl days, I worked in several of them. And because our children have been to the city numerous times, we assumed that they, too, were familiar with the basic features of tall buildings.
However, it seems that when we’ve taken our children to the city, our destinations have been places that are relatively close to the ground: museums, parks, the zoo, and similar low-height places. Our children have also been to many malls, and they have known since their toddler days how to use escalators. Elevators? Well, our local library has an elevator that goes between the ground floor and the lower level, where the children’s department is. And there’s the three story elevator at Macy’s, but come to think of it, we usually take the escalator there. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my children are not ignorant of the modern features of buildings in big cities; they are not country bumpkins who gawk in amazement at things city folks take for granted.
At least, I didn’t think they were – until a few years ago when Kitty went to the music competition for the first time. The university building in which the competition takes place is in an older, vintage, 1930’s era high-rise. By no means could it be called a skyscraper, although when it was built, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city. Like all tall buildings, elevators are avaliable to access the higher floors easily. So when Kitty, Rose and I went to the competition several years ago, we entered the building, found the elevator, and got in. A few students got in the elevator ahead of us and one of them pushed the button for the eighth floor. The music competition was being held on the ninth floor, so I reached out to push the ninth floor button.
Kitty protested, “NO, Mom! They want to go to the eighth floor!”
The students looked at her curiously.
I pushed the button.
Kitty was appalled, but sensed that she was making a scene, so she whispered urgently (and rather loudly) to me, “But, Mom, they got on first. We should let them go to their floor first!”
Puzzled, I responded, “Don’t worry, they’ll get there.”
She persisted and urged me to push the eighth floor button, insisting that the students should get to their desired floor first.
The students smiled and one of them may have laughed.
At that point I realized that Kitty thought the elevator could to one and only one floor on each trip up, somewhat like the one in our library, which travels between just two floors. In her mind, I had committed a social faux pas and a selfish act by pushing the ninth floor button. In doing so, she thought I cancelled the student’s push of the eighth floor button, thereby ensuring that the students would have to ride up to the ninth floor with us and go all the way down to the ground floor before being able to then achieve their goal of going to the eighth floor. I didn’t want to embarrass her in front of the students by laughing, but it was all I could do to keep a straight face as the elevator rose. Her jaw dropped when the elevator stopped at the eighth floor and the students got out. Her expression was priceless and then I did burst out laughing. Rose and I snickered for the rest of the day whenever we thought of Kitty’s ignorance of elevator protocol.
Kitty still does not like us to speak of that incident. She didn’t want me to tell Himself, but I simply had to. He and I delight in such happenings in the lives of our offspring. Don’t all parents?