Close Friends


From the base of the north tower, the Arch is even more impressive as it stretches over 600 feet into the sky.

We purchased the tickets on line, which was a good idea.  This gave us an early start for the ride to the top of the arch without the hassle of waiting behind 100 people at the ticket kiosks.

If you’ve ever ridden to the top of the Arch, you know that it is a one of a kind experience.  Riders stand in the stairwell underneath the north or south section of the arch, behind the metal bar (this phrase was repeated about 15 times while we waited…BEHIND the metal BAR). When the elevator-like doors open, you are looking into an egg-like pod that would have worked great for Mork from Ork.  Five seats line the walls with a luminescent glow coming from behind the center seat.  It’s tight quarters, as you can tell from the five people anxious to leave the space and into the stairwell and out into daylight.

The three off us waited our turn to enter the pod / elevator / egg as instructed (BEHIND the metal BAR) when two more people joined us and stood BEHIND the metal BAR.  One was a little boy, about 10 years old.  The other, I assume was his father.

The father positioned his son in front of us, which gave him first entry into the elevator pod.  The father, a man about 6 foot, 2 inches tall, turned and reported with a smile, “I claim the middle seat.”

“Oh. Do you?” was my reply.

“I’m the tallest and the middle seat has the most leg room.” Well, then, please, by all means, take the entire pod.

As the we entered the elevated death ride, the tall guy climbed into his claimed seat.  The rest of us squeezed in around him as he stretched out his legs.  He smiled at us as we banged our heads into the low, curved ceiling of the tiny capsule.  “Ya.  That’s the other reason I take this seat.”  He waved his hand above his head to illustrate the three inches of clearance.  “More head room.”

My wife replied from her hunched over, fetal position, “This is a tight space, isn’t it?”

And then the man who claims things because he’s taller than everyone else said something I won’t forget, “Yes.  We’re going to be Close Friends.”

I immediately took issue with his statement.  Thankfully for everyone involved I only replied in my mind.  My big boy filter was turned on when my synapses shouted, “Close?  Yes.  Friends? NEVER.”

Can I share a word of advice for those of you who claim the last bagel, the best seat, the better view, the easier way, the best shopping cart, the fastest lane, the ?  Stop it.  You’re acting like a child.

Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”  Of course, in this case it was true.  He was first on but the LAST off of the death-ride-pod-thing.

And I smiled with justice on my side.