Thanks to the aforementioned shenanigans in a certain Milwaukee parking garage, my family and I got to the boat in time to see 139 sweaty people shifting in their seats, getting ready for the 1 p.m. tour. Many of those people were short and young. Children, I suppose. They were also sweaty. And unruly. And altogether terrifying.
Because we are a family of chickens, we fled.
To the mall.
We are not very bright chickens.
We entered the mall and were immediately confused. The directory showed three separate levels of shopping, but none of them were connected. The food court was shown as up and off to the left. And that is where we headed.
Strangely, that took us across a bridge toward a building labeled "Chase Tower Parking."No, dear Lord, not that place again. Please.
We looked at another directory, but that didn't even show a food court on it. Had we been imagining things? Confused, we staggered aimlessly until we wound up in front of the security office. Reeking of stupidtouristosis, we timidly asked for directions. The jolly lady in the security office pointed out the way with as much cheer as the action would allow. The food court had been to the right of the entrance, not the left.
And actually, the food court was across yet another enclosed bridge. It was accessible via two very tall escalators, the whole place almost hidden from view. We had now been in the mall for almost an hour looking for what was apparently a very elite dining establishment. I was beginning to worry that the rules of a secret clubhouse might apply and that we would be denied access because we didn't know the handshake OR the password.
As we stood dejectedly on the escalator, I muttered once again, "I bet this would be funny if we were drunk." My mother nodded.
The image at the top of this entry shows the most exciting part of the food court — an oddly celebratory decoration hanging from the ceiling. My brother decided it was a party favor. I thought it looked like the bastard child of an ice cream cone and a fiber-optic tchotchke. My dad stole the show, however, when he boldly declared it was a particle cannon.
The second image is a closer look at what you might have seen behind the particle cannon and what, in fact, was directly above my head the entire time I was eating lunch — a lot of bird poop. One hour of searching and four hours of secret handshakes for a stellar view of bird poop.
Just as we were getting ready to rain down curses on Milwaukee and forget the whole vacation, we turned the corner to see this:
I realized then that I was enjoying this weird little weekend getaway, quirks and all. Nobody likes to hear about things going right all the time anyway. But then I bought some ice cream and made another crack about being drunk, and we got the hell out of that mall.