So the Goat and I are lying in our conjugal bed listening to the rain outside as it washes out our plans to walk.
"Honey," I say.
"Yes?" he says.
"There is another option."
"We could ... we could ... ," I stammer, afraid of my own forthcoming words. "We could mall walk."
And there it was. And it had to be gotten through like all the rest of it.
|The inscrutable half-head mannequin|
The first mall walking discovery was agreeable enough: We were not alone, although we walked a good deal faster than the other mall walkers. After one or two laps, however, things began to deteriorate, starting with sensory overload. Everything is designed to entice you visually (of course), but smell plays a large part as well. One aroma billows out at you after another. Perfume, candy, soap, popcorn, Sbarro, that money-smell they pump out at casinos.
|One of several candy banks and a guy|
Ubiquitous headless mannequins confront you with escalating creepiness. Some have heads, but no faces. Macy's had some with faces that were wearing lipstick, which moved that entire establishment up three notches on the Humanity Scale.
|Apple Store and headless chicks in evening gowns|
At about the 35-minute mark, we found ourselves completely disoriented. The more we repeated our laps, the more we wondered where we had seen the giant woman clad in a bra with the smoky gaze. Did we park by this entrance or that last one? How could we not have noticed that plus-size mannequin before?
We walked through a cloud of something that smelled (ahem) organic. "We just walked through someone's fart," I said to the Goat, and at once, my fellow mall walkers were not quite so endearing.
Athletic shoes are now candy colored and the stores that house them are hellish collages of ... stuff. The Goodyear tire store with a mall entrance filled me with unprecedented joy. Home Spa was by far the most depressing business. A couple of bored looking people in smocks sat on dubious looking couches near the storefont until someone poured themselves into one of the massage chairs. It felt like witnessing sexless prostitution. Not sure which was worse, when they had customers or when they didn't.
|Flesh-eating vampire display|
Music in a mall is oddly downgraded into sound. Not noise, sound. I may have been listening to songs I knew my whole life. If so, I did not recognize them. It all sounded muted and drunk.
Even though we were walking in circles, it felt like a soul-crushing downward spiral. There is not one store designed to appeal to you intellectually. NOT ONE. No book stores. No music store. There was a convenience store and we stepped in to see if they had any print at all. None. Not even a newspaper. Yeah, I know: maybe everyone has a newstand on their phone. Maybe not.
The only two stores that might have had intellectual appeal were Spencer Gifts and Brookstone. SPENCER GIFTS, people.
|No newspaper for you!|
Now then, whether or not a person purchased a bottle of Virgin Mojito Shower Gel for $9 at the Body Shop is entirely beside the point.
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