I was on vacation with my wife in a beautiful hotel. I stepped out of the hotel and found myself in a cavernous and very swanky mall. One store was devoted to housewares from Israel that were made of pure gold with red enamel. A Victoria’s Secret sort of place occupied a kiosk. Everything was very worldly. “What a good idea to attach a hotel to a mall,” I thought. “A traveler can have everything he wants.”
However, I was surprised to find that the stores didn’t interest me. The escalators, on the other hand, were a marvel. They were as much challenge and game as mode of transport.
One of them was not only an escalator, but a waterfall with glow-in-the-dark paint mixed in for good measure. You had to hop from moving step to moving step without getting wet.
I was standing at its base when a giggling boy tumbled down it, unhurt but drenched in water and paint. Grinning through the goo, he told me about a place in the mall where they had mock battles, and you could fight a king. He was having the time of his life.
So up the escalator I went. It was a “down” escalator, but no matter. A few nimble steps over the flow and I had reached the second floor.
I soon found the arena of which he had spoken. From the walkway, I looked down on a mock combat that was taking place below. Everyone was dressed in medieval costume and the atmosphere was festive. A jewel-encrusted sword was at my feet. No sooner had I picked it up than a family with a young boy arrived. He was thrilled when I gave him the sword. I went on my way, back toward the escalator, where the dream took a sudden turn.
The escalator was now the normal kind (no more fun and games) and wide enough to accommodate three men abreast. I heard a man proclaim loudly and officiously, “Make way! A bishop is ascending the escalator!”
The Catholic prelate soon came into view. He was in a wheelchair, dressed in black robe and red headdress, and flanked by two men. A further retinue followed. One of the two attendants was the minor church official who had made the announcement; the other was an executive who worked for the the mall. The latter was obsequiously confessing his sins to the bishop.
“Father, I have sinned. I have been been angry. I confess that I have even been angry within the last three minutes.” I understood the source of his recent irritation to be people he had had to deal with while coordinating the bishop’s unimpeded and honored progress through the mall.
As soon as the bishop and his retinue had disembarked, a great crowd surged up the escalator; they had been barred from it for the duration of the bishop’s ascent.
I was incensed that these ordinary people had been made to wait. How dare the bishop take precedence when his only claim to superiority was to be highly placed in a church that had tortured and burned so-called heretics not all that long ago!? How dare he assert privilege when his priests have abused innocent children up to the present day!? And why does the mall executive bow and scrape before this man!?
I thought, “Should I register my disgust by striding right across the bishop’s procession, or should I keep my peace?”
As I dithered, the dream ended.