Mall Shmall!

When i was a teenager, it was my mission in life to get       to         The Mall.

Any means necessary. Even public transportation

*horror music plays*

I don’t know why. Maybe because it beat sitting at home alone with the TV on.. maybe it was so i could fantasize about being able to actually walk into a store and buy something… maybe it was because I wanted to check out the cute boys at the arcade.

For those of you reading this born in the 90’s and later, The Arcade is not what you see on Main Street, Disneyland where you pop a penny in a machine and watch an old black and white flip movie. It’s where video games lived before home-bound consoles denigrated the social gathering to a cave-like basement dwelling loner world of online only socializing.

It’s the reason you put on the frosting-pink shiny Wet n Wild lip gloss and crimped your hair before leaving the house. Just in case a boy could tear his eyes away from the monitor to see your face …. that hasn’t changed much.

So it’s fair to say i was a Mall Rat. Even when i had my first baby, the mall was my sanctuary. It was bigger than the four walls at home. It was bright, bustling, busy and exciting. It made me walk … to a pretzel store .. it had a playground for my kid .. so i could sit and NOT make a sippy cup or change a diaper, but just watch him play.

I don’t know what’s happened between my first kid and the second. Maybe it’s the area i moved to, i don’t know, but I no longer view the mall as a haven. It is a battle ground, now. Starting with the freeway ride to get there. Then you have to vie for a parking spot. Covered parking here is a beautiful thing. Then you have to dress for the weather to get from the car into the mall. Once inside, for an instant, i feel that old sigh of possibility and my shoulders ease down a bit as i plan my route.

Then i have to fight my way, pushing a stroller, to the directory to find out where anything is. I have to take into account the Toddler’s mood/rate of exhaustion as we go along our merry way/ and hunger levels. I have to rate stores in order of importance and location. Central to this would be the play area so she can blow off steam.

As i’m shopping the stores i want to see for myself first, i realize either the aisles have gotten smaller, or the strollers are getting wider. It’s a single stroller! There’s also an obscene amount of ’rounders’ in some of the accessory stores.

How do they not plan for stroller/walkers/wheelchairs ? Do those of us requiring wheels need to stay home and shop only online? Are we not fit for public consumption?

I’m trying to get through a Silver store and it’s nearly impossible. I have come to stupidly expect looks of sympathy or just flat out ignored. What i do NOT expect is looks of snide contempt. From the employees, nonetheless! The over-shellacked prissy tacky-Christmas-sweater-wearing employee. The girl clerk didn’t treat me any better either!

That’s when i started caring less about aiming my stroller directly and precisely down the single aisle i could go, and started bumping into the walls.

That’s when i had my Pretty Woman moment.

“you work on commission, right? Big mistake. BIG. HUUUUGE!!”

Just because i don’t swath myself in trendy clothes and jewels doesn’t mean i don’t buy those things for my loved ones at Christmas time, heifer !

And the ballsy people who will walk right towards your stroller and not move out of the way. Your toes are enemy #1 now. It’s a simple matter of geometry, people! My awkward stroller can only fit so many places. Let’s also remember there is a tiny creature inside said vehicle who will not hesitate to scream your ear drums out if you look at her sideways. Me having to maneuver a reasonable sized stroller out of YOUR way makes no f*^$ing sense.

Despite wanting to have a heavily loaded margarita at the end of this expedition, i decided to be responsible, save money, and head to McDonald’s. My daughter has only been to the one by our house with the play place. The one at the mall was pretty dull in comparison. I spruced it up with a happy meal. (so much for being responsible and careful with the money) We finish, head into the bathroom , and on the way out get door-blocked by a woman and her charge. An adult mentally disable woman with a walker.

I would have preferred if we could exit and get out of her way, however, the caregiver had another plan. She didn’t want to move. So i stood with the stroller behind me, holding the door for them to come in.

Apparently the disabled woman was very peeved at us being in her way because she proceeded to roar and scream right at my 2 year old.

I did not allow the door to swing shut on her. I wanted to. But i didn’t.

I talked gently to my daughter, who averted her eyes and was looking at the wall as this person continued on her rampage towards the single handicapped stall.

The caregiver just apologized – what could she have done … except to maybe make sure the bathroom was clear, of course.

So i walked out, talked a little to my 2 year old who was still very shaken up by the whole thing, and went right into Build-A-Bear. Hey, i had a coupon.

That’s when we called it a day and got the BLEEP out of there. And i’m fine if i don’t go back again for another 6 months.

So for those parents out there who have teenagers obsessed with the mall. Fear not. One day your child will have to navigate the place with a child and all the magic will get sucked right out of the whole thing.

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