Still, with all of that, I'm probably going to shock you with what I am about to reveal. There is one thing that seems to remain rather popular these days, especially among young people, that I just don't get, and I'm going to sound like one of you old fellas. Why on Earth would anybody ever want to spend more time at the mall than is absolutely necessary?
I really can't complain too much. My wife isn't that big on shopping, so I can't even say that I rarely get dragged to the mall. I NEVER get dragged to the mall. That doesn't mean that I never go, because once in a blue moon (about 1-2 times a year) she'll need to go to a particular store there and will ask me if I want to come. Since I know that when my wife says that she'll just be a half hour, that she'll actually be there for a half hour, I have no problem tagging along.
The last couple of times, I used it as an excuse to walk Logan around in his stroller while Kirsti took care of her shopping. Once upon a time, there were at least a couple of stores that interested me there. One was that place that had all the movie memorabilia and DVDs. When I collected action figures, I also liked the toy stores. However, even though I wouldn't want to buy anything at either of those stores nowadays (mostly because I can't afford to) I wouldn't mind doing a little browsing if they were still there. But they're not.
What do they have there now? Well, there's a shoe store. There are also some clothing stores where you can go if you want your daughter to just barely cover herself. There's also a shoe store. I saw a store or two that sold crap that would entertain you for about fifteen minutes and then become something that took up space in your garage. Then there's a shoe store and another shoe store. They have a couple stores that play really annoying music and sell clothes for borderline-anorexic teenage girls. If I was hungry, I might check out a few of the restaurants in the food court, and if I wanted just a little something sweet to earn back all those calories I burned from walking the mall, there are places that sell pretzels, muffins, and cookies. Oh yeah, and there are shoe stores, shoe stores, and more goddamned shoe stores.
I guess when you only go there once or twice a year, things that might not seem strange to others stand out a bit more. I kept wondering what aliens would think if they were watching us and couldn't understand our language. Would they simply see it as a place where we purchased goods and services? What would they make of all the unnecessary crap that you can find for sale there? Would they get that same queasy feeling when they saw the store that sells "Native America" knick knacks and stuff? (Maybe all the profits go to Native American causes - that would make it forgivable, I think. But it seemed kinda patronizing to me. "Oooh, lookee! I use every part of this paperweight I just bought!")
I also had to wonder what sort of messages my son, and every other little kid, was getting when he was there. I think if you told the aforementioned aliens that it was the temple to the predominant religion of our culture - Consumerism - they'd easily believe it. Buy stuff! Buy stuff! Buy some more! And when you can't buy anything, then wander about aimlessly and look at stuff that you want to buy!
I guess that this is nothing new, as George Romero already tackled the idea in the original Dawn of the Dead. After about a half hour of that place, I'm starting to worry that somebody's going to try and take a chomp out of my arm.