Today I went with Thunder Punch and Tiny Claws to the mall.
Wait a beat. Yes, I said “the” mall. As in, there’s only one in sane driving distance. Being that I didn’t want to spend gasoline to go to FancyTown, which is in another state (possessing a Nordstrom’s, where each time WITHOUT FAIL I try on LaCoste shirts, admire myself in them, and then never buy them), I went to the one nearby in Crackton. Crackton isn’t as bad as it seems, but I have escaped being shot there once, so it earns its name.
Anyhow, we went to walk around, and ate chinese at the little restaurant we normally eat at. I bought some ridiculously cheap rechargeable batteries and charger so I can stop filling the environment with evil used AA cells. Now its happily charging in my kitchen. This purchase at Sears was about my only buy, except for a dress at Macy’s that TP wanted.
I always used to think that going to the mall was about getting cool stuff, but it turns out that I more or less just enjoy going to the mall, retail Mecca of the world. I’m not sure why, but I find it comforting. I like the giant facility, cooled to just perfect temperatures for me to wander about in. It’s like a tiny city in itself. I realize they are dinosaurs of retail, but to me (raised inside and more or less loathing the outdoors) it’s like the idealized world to travel in. Everything there is shiny and new, and fun.
So I traversed the halls of the mall, and in general soaked in the retail love. It wasn’t bad, but I’d love a better mall with cooler stores. OK, I hadn’t planned this, but here goes a trip down memory lane.
<insert Wayne’s World flashback noise>
My obsession with malls comes from the fact that I lived through their golden age – the early 80’s to the end of 90. My chief educator in malls was my beloved Grandmother who has passed on. Back in the day, Homeville was a swinging place, with no fewer than 5 malls! In essence every compass point had a mall – Eastland, Woodland Hills, Southland, (well, the North side didn’t, but there’s nothing of value there anyhow). Plus the fancy pants mall outside and Kensington Galleria, which was like the all time great of malls – frou frou shops, 80’s stuff like Sharper Image (before it sucked), and some super sweet stuff. Anyhow, one of the things I liked BEST about malls, is one thing older folks hated about them – low light conditions. As a kid I remember how gloomy and poorly lit the department stores were, and this was comforting to me. I remember how I loved seeing the G.I. Joe displays with a single light streaming down on them in the 50’s era Sears we went to, with the wonderful darkness covering the vehicles and figures on the outlying edge – it seemed like anything could be hiding in the darkness. I’d spend hours staring at the cool stuff on display.
Now for the uninitiated, the mall used to rock out hardcore. First was the arcade – another post on that later. Second, much of the mall was devoted to THINGS TO DO, not just stuff to buy. Anyhow, each major department store had their own toy department. JC Penney’s was especially amazing. They were higher end (we bought our VCR there in 1982). If you wanted to lay down the coin, JCP was the place. They had G.I. Joe Headquarters, Voltron toys, the SDF-1 from Robotech, all the coolest Transformers from Japan. I can’t really explain to you how sweet they were. Someday I might actually draw what they looked like so you can see. But imagine a sea of robots, chrome and military toys – it was absolutely amazing.
So anyway, each store held something fun and awesome to examine. Pretty much you got any Joe you wanted, cause in addition to Kay Bee and Circus World (TWO TOY STORES) you had Sears, Penneys, Monkey Wards, and tons more. Each had a department. Anyhow, we’d traverse these places for hours, my Granny and I. She’d look for clothes and I’d trawl the toys. Anyhow, after we’d tired ourselves out, we’d hit Corn Dog on a Stick or another restaurant you could ONLY get at a mall (as opposed to now, where its stuff from outside). Then, grasping something bulky, expensive and fun as all get out, we’d leave full and rested. Then, we’d swing past Eckerd’s pharmacy where we could get batteries for my toys, and pick up Granny’s medication. Then I’d while away the hours on the carpet playing with toys till my cartoon shows came on or night fell. I need to write more on her house later.
But, another story for another time. That little trip down memory lane might go towards explaining why I love malls so much. Comments?