Confessions Of A Mall Rat.

With Earl out of town on business, I’ve had quite a bit of time to myself for the past couple of nights. I’ve been keeping busy getting ready for my first club DJ gig in about 3 1/2 years downloading music and whatnot, but before diving into the project for the night I’ve gone to the mall to pick up a few things and grab a bite to eat.

Now I like malls. I find them fascinating in a very geek way. For example, there are three malls within 150 miles of us that are identical to one another. Same floor tiles. Same layout. Same anchor stores. Same style food court. I find this very intriguing though I’m sure the mall developer found it more economical than interesting.

That all being say, I must say that I hate the mall.

It’s actually not as bad as it used to be as far as being overrun by teenagers. The movie theatres moved out about a year ago so that whole crowd has moved to one of the big box plazas that have cropped up. In addition, after a huge brawl between warring schools, the mall company wiped out the food court, taking away all the trees, ledges, steps and anything else that contributed to the ambiance and replaced it with lighting brighter than a baseball stadium. You need sunglasses to sit down and grab a bite to eat. It’s quite revolting to see what the food court eateries are actually serving, it’s better to be left in the dark on some things.

Nevertheless, I found a couple of things tonight that piqued my interest. First of all, I noticed this younger guy walking through the food court with fierce sideburns, pointed shoes and a very high PING on the gaydar. He was totally out of my range of interest but I instantly recognized him and immediately felt old. He won a contest on one of the radio stations I worked at back in 1993 to be a “guest DJ” on my night show. He was 13 at the time. I found him quite frightening in that his parents just dropped him off at the radio station and took off. As I recall he was a nervous wreck, smashed a piece of equipment and stomped on several CDs. He was odd and the whole experience about sent me over the edge. He just walked on never noticing my stare. That was good.

As I was enjoying my Chinese food, two younger ladies sat down to my left and starting yammering in a fast-paced, hyper-extended version of American English that I had never heard before. There were words that were beyond my comprehension, though I tried my hardest to eavesdrop with accuracy. I sensed that they were dishing a third girl (that wasn’t present of course), something about her shorts were bitchin’. Maybe rippin’. Maybe shittin’. It was hard to tell between the gum snaps.

One of the things that I did notice is that it’s wardrobe transition time here in Upstate N.Y. Men were in shorts and sandals, women were in long slacks and sweaters. One woman had a parka and bright pink sweat pants on with flip flops, but I think she was from the local “Psychiatric Facility” as its so noted on the sign outside. Oddly enough, she blended fairly well.

I did have one mid-20s-ish man make a comment to me while I was waiting for my Chinese food to be dished up. He smiled, rubbed his chin and said “nice beard”. Since he didn’t have one, I assume that he was referring to mine. I smiled and said thanks. He glanced away nervously and I went back to living in my own little world oblivious to any sort of pass that was being attempted at the moment. I must have had “bachelor mode” written on my forehead. Earl says my name should have been “John Nyuland from St. Olaf”.

Earl will be glad to know that I made it out of there with nary a skid mark on the credit cards, having only picked up a CD cleaner and a pack of blank CDs. Good thing there isn’t an Apple store here.