It’s been a long, long time since I’ve visited the mall. Matter of fact, I’ve never visited the one right here by our house, despite its proximity.
I’m not a mall person. Not anymore, at least. I was at one time, to be sure. I loved hanging out at the mall, walking around window shopping, spending an evening or a weekend day passing time and spending money as available. And I LOVED Christmas shopping at the mall. One of the things I looked forward to most about the season was the fun of mall shopping for gifts during the holidays.
A lot of things have changed about me since those days, though. My weight is one of them. My age is another. My energy level is a third. But the biggest change I’ve experienced since my last mall excursion is my patience and tolerance for people.
I have none now.
In my youth, I was fit and strong and imposing. Downright threatening, some said. I didn’t mean to be, but the way I carried myself and the way I looked. I think I had a grumpy face and big, muscular arms. I also trained in the martial arts and didn’t really feel threatened by much. Today?
Yeah, not so much anymore.
For one thing, EVERYONE looks bigger than me. And I feel CRUSHED by the masses of humanity. I swear the oxygen in the place is scarce because of the throngs. I couldn’t go three feet with out rubbing shoulders with another human, and that is NOT the kind of person I am. AT. ALL.
So, when we waited in the mall for our car to have its new shoes put on (which took a ridiculously, stupidly long time), I thought it might be nice to get my parched family a drink at the food court.
I knew the place was big. Knew that going in. But when I stepped out of the store and looked into the river of humanity crashing and rushing about ahead of us in the mall, I turned and just stared at my wife. My face said it all, I think.
We started down the corridor, passed and bumped and pushed and tried like hell to keep an eye on the kids. My son seemed to be enjoying himself and watched me out of one eye to keep up. My daughter’s tiny hand was crunched into the sweaty palm of my loving spouse. We paddled downstream and I made a crack about trying to find a place to get a drink, when I noticed this HUGE sign arching over the walkway saying “FARE”. And on each of the letters, which were in pastel colored circles, the edge said “Food Court”.
“Maybe we should look under this area marked ‘Food Court’,” I quipped. Ha! Aren’t I funny. “I mean, it’s probably a good place to start.”
“We can do that,” Fal said, and grinned.
We walked in, under those happy, welcoming letters. And you know what I saw?
I saw this place to our right, with a line about sixty yards long leading away from it. Then I saw more mall. Lots, and lots, and lots. I moved us to our left – it seemed the best of the available directions. We walked and walked and walked. My back screamed in protest. I got jostled and rumpled and ruffled and rattled. I kept swiveling my head to see where my son was. Finally I just grabbed his coat and held onto him. (He’s not old enough to be embarrassed by me yet.)
Fal finally stopped. “You know what?”
“What?” I puffed.
“I think I just want to go back and sit in the auto center waiting area. I need to rest my feet and my back. And I can live a little longer without a drink.”
I turned back toward the oncoming crush of human debris. “You sure?”
But she’d already started back the way we’d come.
There was no Food Court under that Food Court sign. Nowhere. Not anywhere.
I never got that soda pop either.
But hey – the car has new tires.
The next day, I felt as if I’d been beaten. I was tired all day, a little achy, and sore-ish in my legs. My back b!tched all night about the work. That’s the farthest I’ve walked in a long time, I’m sure. But it still accentuates how much I need to get started exercising.
I also need to get out more so this isn’t so creepy to me. But that’s another topic for a different day.
Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved