About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I was in the mall trying to sell some books that we were trying to get rid of at Half Price Book Store. I gave them two boxes, and they told me to give them a half hour and they would give me the price they would pay. So instead of sitting on my butt and doing nothing while I waited (my default mode), I decided to wander around the mall for a little bit. It wasn’t a big mall, but one that I hadn’t been for a while so I just wanted to see if anything had changed. Also, if there were any potential blog posts (apparently there was).
The CD/movie store was no longer there (shocker), the toy store had been replaced by a new toy store, and drug store was replaced by a new make up store. Something that you will almost always notice when you are away from a mall for a while is changes. It’s expensive to rent space at a mall and if you aren’t making sales, you are going to be replaced by something shiny and new soon. I’ve always been fascinated by malls, not because I like to shop or buy stuff, but because I love to wander around and notice things. I guess you could say I’m a people watcher. But not even that, I’m an observer.
Since I was on vacation, and it was the middle of the day on a weekday, I wondered what kind of people can even be at the mall at that time. There were of course, mothers with young children, and some teens who had just got out of school for the summer and were enjoying their freedom for the first few days, but what kind of adult males can be at the mall? Retired guys? Other guys like me on vacation? What about the guys at the center playing with the over sized chess pieces and chess board? Are they unemployed? Guys that work from home and are out needing to get the creative juices flowing? Workers from the restaurant just on a break? Or do they work the night shift and they are just picking up something before they go to work?
And the lady with the 5 kids under 8. Why would she come here? Was it just to get the little screamers out of the house, so she could get some sanity? So she could meet other women with that many kids? Did she go into this life wanting that many kids, or did she just kind of wing having that many kids? When was the last time she got any rest? I only have two and it was a good 10-12 year period before I got to sleep all the way through the night.
What about the lady that works at the book store? Why did she start working here? Was it her love of books? Did she just need a part time job because she needed money? Or is she an aspiring novelist that just wanted to have time to write her novel? Maybe none of those things. There are a thousand different reasons why she might work there. Or maybe none.
You might be one of those people that only go to the mall or a store to buy something. Many people are. My wife and son are. If there is nothing to buy, then they will find something. Otherwise, it was a wasted trip. On the other hand, I can go to the mall 7 or 8 times and never buy a thing. Someone may see me wandering around and think I’m lost. But they would be wrong. Not all who wander are lost. Some are just stalkers, uh I mean observing you getting lost.
Bitter Wandering Nomad Ben