This past weekend, J was busy with her work. As is almost always the case, this meant that I took the kids on an adventure. This time, we went to Epcot.
If you haven’t been to Epcot, one of the attractions there is a thing called “The Living Seas”. It’s an indoor aquarium complex with, among other things, gigantic aquariums you can walk around. It’s set up extremely well, with wide corridors and great views of the fish.
At one point, we were walking down a wide hallway where the walls to our left and right were actually the glass sides of two separate aquariums. They were filled with all sorts of fish – dolphins, turtles, sharks, rays – everything a toddler could want to look at. As soon as we entered the hallway, C ran to the right side and plastered his face against the glass. “Look! Look!”
N ran over to do the same, of course. After a couple minutes, C glanced over his shoulder and saw the other tank. He ran across the hallway to look. N followed.
Soon they were running back and forth every 30 seconds or so. They’d stand at the glass, looking and pointing and then C would run to the other side. It would take a few seconds for his little brother would to notice, and then he’d turn and run after him.
I was standing on the right side, making the appropriate encouraging noises.
Then a show must have let out or something, because a huge mass of fast walking people arrived in front of us, filling the hallway. Their timing was horrible. N was just about halfway across, when he suddenly found a pair of fast moving adult legs in front of him. He stopped to wait, but there were more immediately behind it. He tried to turn back, but at this point he was surrounded by adults.
It took me a second to realize we were in the midst of a stampede, but that was about all. When the first person didn’t stop, and then no one else even slowed down, I shouted and started pushing my way through. I’m not very big, but I’m a pretty effective pusher when I have to reach my kids. C was doing his part, too – shouting “daddy! daddy!” and trying to get to his brother.
People were stumbling around this way and that, some trying to avoid running over the kids, others trying to avoid me. None of them, apparently, were smart enough to realize that all they had to do was stop walking.
Poor N was almost panicked. Every direction he turned, there was another pair of fast moving legs in his way. Finally, he reached out both arms as wide as he could, grabbed a set around the knees, and hugged with all his might.
It was a great solution. With him and his captive adult stopped, I reached him almost immediately. I scooped him up and went the rest of the way across the hall to join his brother.
I’m afraid I wasn’t very gracious to the people in the hallway.
I’ve no particular fondness for herd animals.