I spent way too much time in a mall yesterday with my daughter.
I need to preface this whole entry by saying, we ended up at a mall after trying valiantly to find what she needed at smaller businesses outside of the mall. I try to buy local when possible but this was not to be. Even if there is someone in my city who ethically produces running shoes with good arch support, I'm sure they would blow my budget. I should also say, I don't enjoy shopping in general and I don't like malls.
So there we were on a busy, rainy Saturday two hours before closing. The place was packed. We were so far into the debauchery I agreed to take us to the Food Fair for fortification. We indulged in Food Fair poutine. (I'm serious. It was delicious.) Then we shopped.
We managed after two hours to find what we needed. As we were making our way to the exit, both of us tired, for a moment we pretended we were zombies (as you do). With our arms outstretched we lurched mechanically towards the door. Then the twelve year old says: "I think it's the fluorescent lights that make me so tired in a mall."
Now, she's probably heard me say this before. I'm one of those people that feel drained by fluorescent lights. Sure, I could be making it up or it could be the recycled air that causes me to lose energy inside a mall, whatever it is, I have been heard to blame the lights.
This comment about the lights Dear Reader took me right back to the days when I did not hate malls. That's right. I used to love the mall. I mean what's not to love? You've got all your favourite stores, there's a fountain in the middle, there's Orange Julius and you don't get rained on. C'mon!
Because I grew up in the suburbs, the mall was our city centre. There was no where else to go. When I ended up getting a job at a mall as a teenager, it was the best. In hindsight, it was the best because it cured me of my love for malls for life. By the time I was 20 I started looking adamantly for other shopping options. It's the lights or the air, I don't know, but I feel my life-force draining from me the moment I step foot in one. (Disclaimer: If you like malls, I'm not judging you, just don't ask me to come with you.)
I also don't like the sameness, how malls all look the same on the inside wherever you are in North America (except West Edmonton Mall, duh). I don't like how the stores are all the same. You could be anywhere inside of a mall. It's disorienting. You could spill your Orange Julius, hit your head on the fountain, wake up and think you were Halifax when you were really in Langley. It's not right.
The good thing about working at a mall in my formative years was that all that sameness that gets thrown at us constantly from media and advertising anyway, was launched at me with even more force while I was immersed in mall culture. Sure there's something oddly comforting about being able to get a Purdy's almond dipped ice cream at the mall now, that tastes the same as the ones I ate weekly as a teenager, (half the size, twice the price), but that doesn't mean it's good for me. In fact, I'd likely be able to retire ten years earlier if I'd cut out the daily Purdy's and put that money in a savings account.
This blog has not been about what I intended it to be about. I realize that by writing about the mall I have wandered aimlessly through my mall-thoughts as though I was in an actual mall, wandering aimlessly. It's frightening. It's where the zombie apocalypse will likely occur. Mark my words.