Yesterday The other day, we were in Greenhills hunting for an iPhone and a Palm Centro AND a Sony Ericsson W960i. We had just stepped off the escalator on the ground floor of Virra Mall and were on our way to the exit to go to Luk Yuen Restaurant. If you’re familiar with the layout of the place, you can picture where we were. I had just made a U-turn from the escalator to the door when a searing pain when through my left shoulder blade. Something dropped from somewhere above and that something hit me.
For a few seconds, I couldn’t move. The pain was really bad. Then, because whatever hit me landed with a clang on the concrete floor, I knew it was something metallic. My first instinct was to look up. Whoever dropped whatever it was must be looking for it and any sane person would have immediately tried to find out if the thing was visible from the upper floor. But no one was looking down. I started searching and found a large bunch of keys in a heavy key ring. I pointed them out to Speedy and asked him to pick them up. A few seconds later, I saw a girl, probably in her late teens or early 20s, looking down from the third floor. I raised my eyebrow at her, waiting for a reaction, waiting for her to claim the keys. Nothing happened.
At that point I was fuming. If you can’t imagine the pain, ask a friend to drop a bunch of metal keys from the third floor with you on the ground floor as the target. Tell him to make sure that the keys hit your shoulder blade.
Okay, it was probably an accident. Question is was it an unavoidable accident? Someone threw the bunch of keys but the intended recipient failed to catch it. People do it all the time. But in a crowded mall, is that a smart thing to do?
In public swimming pools, in the ice skating rink and in such other places where horseplaying can lead to serious injury especially to innocent parties, we often see signs that say horseplaying is not allowed. I really appreciate those signs. In the ice skating rink, especially, when Sam was around 7 and just starting to skate, I always felt my heart was in my throat every time a group of unruly teenagers would skate near her. I hated those teenagers. The boys, especially, who seemed oblivious to the very obvious fact that their idea of fun could seriously hurt other people.
There had been many times when the signs had been insufficient. I have lost count of the instances when Speedy and I had to call the attention of the guard or one of the coaches to tell those teenagers off or get them out of the rink. Sometimes, it worked instantly. At other times, we watched the scowls on the faces of those brats as their attention was called and I can’t even begin to describe the tension while waiting to see if they would comply or make trouble.
Unfortunately, in places like the shopping malls, there are no signs that say horseplaying is not allowed. Almost every time I go to the mall, there is always a group of unruly youngsters who push each other in jest, sometimes, even on the escalators. They slap each other with their heavy shopping bags, they crowd the aisles and think nothing of it when they STOP WALKING as a group so they can all read the message on the cell phone of a companion. There are times when I have been tempted — so sorely tempted — to push them over the ledge. I would probably jump up and down with glee as I watch them topple down — head first — from the fourth floor to the ground floor.
If there’s anything I hate even more, it is parents who allow — encourage even — their young children to run around the aisles as though the place was their personal playground. I want to smack the smiling faces of the parents who look affectionately at their brats as though everyone else should feel as happy and proud — as though the public should consider it a treat to watch those snotty brats running around, bumping into people and just generally being pests.
Am I too intolerant? Have I forgotten what it’s like to be young and to have young children? No, definitely not. I have two teenage daughters and they know how to behave in public places. And even as very young children, they knew how to behave. I know a lot of other kids who know how to be considerate too. In fact, in the mall, not all young children or groups of teenagers are unruly. It’s just that there are good eggs and bad eggs.
Whoever threw the bunch of keys yesterday must have been too afraid to claim it. If you saw the look on my face, you would probably have been afraid too. Nobody likes me when I’m angry; not even my husband and kids who love me very much.
We dropped the keys in a trash can. Intentionally. And with every hope that they would never be found. Even if the owner had been watching and saw us do it, he would have to swim through the lunch time garbage of half eaten food swimming with cigarette butts and all kinds of gooey mess inside the trash can. Screw him. May he get contaminated with all kinds of contagious diseases if he decided to get his keys.