On Malls

Written by Mike Parish, Illustrated by Dan Tarnowski
On Malls

I’ve been finding myself in a lot of malls lately and I’ve been enjoying myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been much of a mall goer, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve steered myself far away from the places. Having been away from them for some time, I’ve come back with a fresh look and a better understanding as to what makes the modern mall so appealing. For one, the level of convenience at which one can have all of their immediate needs and wants fulfilled is stunning. Clothing, food, furniture, cell phones: everything is on display, ready to be bought and sold and taken home. This same sort of “display” goes for the shoppers themselves as well; socially, malls are a gathering ground for all sorts of people. I’ll admit, I’ve never much enjoyed malls for this reason. I’ve found malls to be filled with people who show off what they can afford and who pay respect to what they save their money for. I once went to a mall with a guy who had scrapped together $250 for a wallet, (who paid for some of it in quarters, which, when dropped on the counter, must have sounded like fingernails scratching a blackboard to the other patrons, judging by the faces the other patrons were making), who after paying for it, had nothing to put in it except the receipt. What if people like him and all the rest of them suddenly decided that they didn’t give a shit about any of the stuff behind all of the glass windows, that none of those expensive clothes or toiletries mattered, that none of those things made them who they were? Would all of those people know what to do with themselves? What would they be working for if not for all that stuff? I’m not sure I will ever understand it or pretend to know the answer. But it sure feels good to get something new once in a while.

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