Because I’m spending a lot of time being my daughter’s chauffeur and I don’t smoke or own a flask, I tried to find something constructive to do during the two hours she was going be in a class Thursday night. I had briefly considered two friends’ suggestions - the butterfly museum and a black-and-white nature photography exhibit - but I was half tired and half not-feeling-good from two weeks of not sleeping and not eating (what’s up with that, anyway? I’m either menopausal, in puppy love, or suddenly I’m a cyborg) so I opted for parking the car in the mall parking lot, dozing off while checking email, quick nap-with-my-head-lolling-to-the-side-and-mouth-open (yes, I am that lady), then a stroll through the mall.
This mall was really weird. And not because I entered at the Sears “Husky Boys” department either. It was like a spider or an octopus, with no main concourse, but with lots of narrowish alley-tentacles.
Once out of the Sears comfort zone, I had a hard time finding a store with a recognizable name.
Intermix. Traffic. A Pea in the Pod. Bolufe. Jake and Rockets. Was I in another country? Where was Starbucks? Helloooo, Game Stop anybody?
I sought refuge in Macy’s, where I thought maybe I’d look at shoes. I’m on a Don Quixote-like quest for the ultimate pair of flat black sandals that are comfortable, don’t squeak when I walk, make my ankles look like I’m wearing Betty Davis shoes, and cost less than $40. I did not find them. Instead, I saw a lot of shoes like this:
and even some like this:
When I was in college (and wearing Earth Shoes and espadrilles), we had a name for shoes like that. I won’t say the letters, but let’s just say if you were wearing them, you might be ready to get into Hugh Grant’s car.
I was just about to think, Who would buy these? Who could wear these? when I saw someone - a shopper - wearing shoes like this:
The butterflies were looking pretty good.
I left Macy’s as fast as my flat, $8.88 Walmart sandals could squeak me out of there.
Went past a kiosk selling I don’t know what, because I couldn’t see because the two men working there had shirts on like this:
I power walked past them. I have nothing against men in hot pink shirts, but when there are two and they match . . . I was afraid to ask what they were selling, especially if it wasn’t something for breast cancer research.
[I have a pet peeve about mall kiosk workers who come up to you as you’re walking through the mall and ask you questions about your beauty or if you “want to try something to get rid of those wrinkles.” With the exception of a T Mobile kiosk worker in Lexington who was very handsome and energetic, I try to avoid those wandering minstrel salespeople. My daughter, aka Devil’s Advocate, calls me on this and wants to know why I will take fliers from escaped mental patients on the streets of New York but I won’t give the time of day to a suburban mall kiosk hustler. In New York, it’s part of the city experience. I once took a sheet of paper from a street person downtown Manhattan and on it she had hand written in pencil her complaints about her sister-in-law. That was cool and hip and an edgy city experience. The mall kiosk workers I know for a fact have drab, suburban lives just like mine, so they just piss me off.]
Had to use the restroom, so I went back to Sears, the womb of this mall for me. “Where are the restrooms?” I asked someone. “In Ladies Lingerie.” I don’t know how to say this, but there was a man working in the ladies’ lingerie department. He was twirling his Sears employee ID card lanyard and leaning on a display shelf containing these:
(He was uncomfortably close to other underwear items, too, but do you know how hard it is to find pictures of push-up bras laying on counters and not worn by models?)
Butterflies are quite possibly the most colorful animals on the planet.
Left the restroom and the formerly cozy Sears (since the underwear man, it was slightly creepy) and still had a half hour to waste. Went down another tentacle with stores named Kariza, Tumi and Tous, and suddenly I heard footsteps fast approaching behind me. A girl about 20 came whizzing past me, headed right over to the trash can and threw up into it. I and the other mall strollers stopped in our tracks and waited to see what would happen next. Next, she flipped her hair back, wiped off her mouth with the back of her hand, and walked away.
“Are you OK?” some guy asked her. She didn’t hear or ignored him.
God I love butterflies so much. The next time I see a butterfly I will hug it so hard I’ll squeeze the short life out of it.
I’m sure I’ve thrown up in public. I don’t remember it, of course, because I’ve learned how to block embarrassing things from my past, until one of my sisters or high school friends or college roomates surfaces with photo albums and diary entries. But I’m pretty sure I never threw up in a mall.
And if I did I would have faked a heart attack or something, anything to make people forget what had just happened.
I, for one, would have appreciated somebody having a heart attack after that to block this whole mall experience from my memory. This chauffer business isn’t easy.