The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Mall Field Trip!


This past weekend one of my judo students parents Kathy, my mom, and me, took a field trip to King of Prussia Mall. As mom herself does not like driving long distances alone, Kathy offered to come along as she had nothing better to do.

My main objective of course was to visit the Apple Store, and check out the new MacBook Pro 17-inch matte screen laptops, and if they had gotten in any of the new Mac Pro towers yet. The trip down was uneventful, and traffic was not too bad.

We entered the mall, and I was more then shocked that it was very crowded. But we made our way to the restrooms first, with me leading the way. As always the cane comes in handy some times, most nice folks move aside when they see me coming. I still find this some what amusing – in a good way.

After our small rest stop, we headed to the Apple Store, I entered and looked around. To my surprised they did in fact have both a MacBook Pro 17-inch matte screen system, and glossy screen system side by side to look at. The matte screen is likely the one I will get; I did find the matte screen much easier to read. I set the resolution down from it’s native 1920 by 1200 to 1152 by 720, I think it was, and every thing seemed OK to read. Of coruse if I use it at my desk at home I will hook it up to my 23-inch Apple HD Display. I will have to order the system on-line to get the hardware I need installed, and request the matte screen option. – Not that I mind, I would get a nice 18% discount because of my membership to NAPP, (The National Association of Photoshop Professionals).


©Apple Inc.

Yes I’m still kicking MacBook Pro vs Mac Pro tower around in my head! But MacBook Pro still seems to be winning!

Our, (my), main objective complete we had nothing better to do then roam around the mall, no rush, nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon. Kathy grabbed a mall map, and we headed to the food-court to grab something to eat. We got some stuff from Taco Bell… Leisurely ate our food and chatted. I was explaining to Kathy about my Orientation and Mobility training, and how some day Elaine wanted me travel here, to the mall, on the bus, alone… Kathy jokingly suggested that her and my mom leave, and I could ride the bus home now. All in jest, and we laughed, but I really don’t like that. It is a big fear of mine. – Why is it so hard for some to understand a fear? It’s so simple of a task for some, but yet for folks like me, travel is some what of a mini-triumph when accomplished.

compusWe finished eating, and roamed some more. Kathy stopped in some small shops looking for a small gift to give to her son, for his birthday this week. Nothing was found, cheap any way. Did I mention King of Prussia Mall is really kind of high dollar to us simple town folk? It’s not easy to find something cheap at KOP.

We continued walking and visited a few other stores. One sold luggage, nice bags and all, but again, not cheap. Mom seen a bag she liked, but it was $79, others I looked at that would hold laptops and such where around $180… We walked on… We seen another store that sold tea, (Teavana) and partook in some free samples, very tasty! This is one I will have to remember, I do like hot teas. As I recall the average price was around $15 for 4oz tea dried tea.

We then made our way out and to another whole building of the mall complex. Kathy then spotted The Cheesecake Factory, and we popped in to visit. She got a slice of Cheesecake ($8 – Slice!), to take home for her son and her to share. I thought the place neat, but did not care for the way it was lit, and it’s dark bar like atmosphere. I don’t like dark crowded stores. But I survived.

We then made our way to Borders Books. I was awe struck. It looked like a damn library; you could have fit five plus of our local Borders in this place. (Can you tell I don’t get out much?) Kathy headed off to look for some books for her son, and I headed to the photography section. WOW they actually had a selection of books! Amazing! A few of the books I had actually wanted for years about portrait photography and lighting. Sadly I really don’t need them now, I really do very little studio portrait lighting any more, every thing is sports or on-location. But it was nice to look.

With the mall almost ready to close now just before 7PM on Sunday, Kathy found some books for her son and we headed out to go home. The trip was fun, and by far was the longest, and most we had ever roamed around in the King of Prussia Mall. If my travels and skills come about, I could see myself going almost weekly to simply walk around.

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  • Well it was raining and cold outside so today’s lesson was again at the local mall. So that is where Elaine and I headed today, a bit puzzled as to what she possibly may have me do.

    Mobility instructors like to play pretend to educate and prepare there students for the next step, and it is kind of fun. So today Elaine played the role of a bus or Paratransit, which ever you would prefer.

    With instructions and a task for me to do. The task was to be dropped off ALONE at the main entrance to the mall (an area where a bus would normally stop), enter, and make my way to Borders Books… ask the clerk for a book price, and if it was in, (sorry I forget the name of the book.)… Navigate out, and threw the mall, and meet Elaine at Friendly’s and the entrance to Boscov’s…

    So off I set on my mall adventure. Not hard you think, but you must remember, I’m not use to being alone in such a large place, I’m always with friends, family, or mom. This time it was up to me, to navigate myself it’s a bit nerve-racking .

    compus

    I navigated myself threw Dick’s Sporting Goods, (the main entrance), then into the mall… located Borders Books (only a short walk from Dick’s.) and I entered the book store. A nice clerk asked me right away if I needed help finding something, so I asked about the book and got the information Elaine asked for.

    The first task complete, I exited and set off for Friendly’s all the way on the other side of the mall. Our local mall is not huge, but it was a good walk away. I had to navigate some steps and make a turn to head near Friendly’s, thankfully it was not crowded at 2PM on a Wednesday afternoon. I did know where I was going, after all this IS our local mall…. And there was Elaine waiting for me… (Sorry no ice cream though!)…

    The lessons second half took place in Boscov’s, at the steps… We reviewed cane step technique. We then talked about escalators, and noted how the steps move, and the sounds they make.

    EscalatorHere come them blinder glasses again… Elaine lead me around the store a bit using sighted guide technique to “get me lost“… and we approached the escalators again… by sound I knew we were close… Feel the rail she says, it’s pulling away, extend the cane and feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; lift-click, lift-click, lift-click, as it lifts the cane. We must be going to head up… We did… Cool!

    Now we walk around a bit again to confuse me, remember with the blinder glasses I cannot see at all. We approached the escalator again, feel the rail, it’s pulling away… we know at least it’s not the down escalator or it would be “pushing” us not “pulling“… I extend the cane to feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; pull-tap, pull-tap, pull-tap… wait a minute, something’s different…

    Elaine explained that sound and the LIFT of the cane is the key… Either escalator will pull you on, but how do you know if you are going upstairs or downstairs, escalator on-platforms are flat… Going up you’ll hear the pronounced CLICK as the cane LIFTS AND DROPS on each step. For a down escalator you will hear more of a TAP then a click, and the cane won’t be lifted, just be pulled… A eureka moment for sure! We went up and down a few more times, with no trouble.

    The elevator lesson was very short. Only to mention that most elevators beep or chime for each floor you are on, and to count the beeps to determine what floor you’re on. Since our Boscov’s only has three floors, counting the roof parking, we will need to review this lesson in a bigger building and a better functioning elevator.

    With tasks complete, I was told to navigate back threw the mall again, alone, but this time meet Elaine at TGI Friday’s… And while I’m at it, stop in, and ask for a take-out menu. So off I set. – Not many problems, I made one tiny wrong turn, but realized it right way, and made it OK. Popped in, asked for a menu, and met Elaine at the door. – Be noted, I didn’t care for inside Friday’s it’s kind of dark, and bar like, I dislike dark restaurants, it’s even harder for me to see.

    compusI then navigated AGAIN back threw the mall to Dick’s Sporting Goods to meet Elaine, and we left… In all this lesson went well, and Elaine says I am picking things up very fast. With hopefully nicer weather next week, we will do more street work, as that is where I still need the most help.

    As for roaming the mall by my self, my comfort level was around a 3 out of 5, even though it was our local mall, I am still not use to navigating large places by my self. We will work on this. Elaine says we just need a bigger mall! – Oh joy! Yes it’s true, we do have the King of Prussia Mall here in PA, and it’s the largest shopping mall on the East Coast of the United States… Crap… – Well, at least there is an Apple Store in there!

    Till next time! Please as always feel free to leave your comments!

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