Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Trip To The Shopping Mall

Oh my, yesterday was quite a day. A good day. Fun and unemotional (always a good sign). My mom needed a top to wear to a party this weekend so we met at the mall. Well first we met to eat. And as we are eating she tells me I need to write a side-splitting funny blog. And then she performed the dramatic act that is going to become that side-splitting funny blog while we are leaving the restaurant. I was trying to get online with my phone and followed her into the bathroom, my head down, focused on my hands. She goes into one of the stalls. I am still absorbed in my online pursuit and have not looked up from my phone. I stand and wait for her in front of the sinks and mirrors, tapping away at the keypad. A person walks in, an employee, to wash up. I do a double take out of the corner of my eye as I am greeted with a questioning, Hello. I look up to see a person that looks like a man. I am very confused. Maybe a gay man? But a gay man would not be in the woman's restroom. Is this a transsexual? Possibly mid-transfer between woman and man? So as my slow brain attempts to quickly unscramble this information into recognizable parts I conclude that no, I am looking at a man. I look a little to the left and see a urinal. Finally it all clicks into place that we are in the men's restroom as I loudly exclaim this information to my mother, still in one of the stalls, apologize to the gentleman and start laughing hysterically as I exit the bathroom clearly marked MEN.

Then I made some rounds, having worked in most of the department stores in most of the malls in the greater Phoenix area. Lots has changed, for in retail it always does, but there are usually those few sprinkled throughout that stay steady, don't move on. I ran into one as my mom browsed the sale upstairs and I scoured the cosmetics floor for any recognizable faces. And I was so saddened by her news that her mother, a woman I had met who was vibrant and alive just last year, had died. Suddenly, no reason. My heart went out to her as I watched this shell shocked single mother of 2 hold back her tears on the sales floor. Her mother had been her childcare and it was so obvious the emotional and financial devastation this dear heart was in the middle of. I felt so bad I wanted to offer to take care of her kids for her! Yeah, imagine me as daycare for a 2 and 4 year-old! Luckily I bit my tongue before I offered something I could not do. I went on to talk to another former co-worker and friend only to find out her cancer had come back. I spot a third familiar face and discover she had fallen and broken her hip. At this point I stopped looking for people I knew and fled cosmetics to escape in woman's sportswear and find my mother, very saddened by their tribulations. 

As we are walking to the parking garage I spot a vending machine. I am parched, my throat so dry I can hardly swallow, white foam coating the edge of my lips. I have just enough to buy a $1.75 tiny little bottle of water and feed the overpriced drink dispenser the last of my change. But it is broken. It eats my money and leaves us standing there really thirsty and very frustrated. At this point I fantasize about having a big black marker in my purse so I could write across the window of the machine in big black block letters OUT OF ORDER!!! I head into the nearest store and wait patiently as the clerk finishes helping the customer in front of me, pondering my options and simmering down a little. I then explain the situation and ask if I could borrow a black marker, promising to bring it back. The sweetheart of a girl gets it immediately and asks if I want a piece of paper too. I reluctantly say yes as I let out a puff of air, telling her she probably just saved me from getting arrested for vandalism and winding up in Tent City. She slaps a piece of tape on my OUT OF ORDER sign and I leave the store to triumphantly pin the sign on the thieving mechanism, still horribly thirsty but ultimately glad I did not deface public property. I head home, tired and exhausted, and contemplate the events of the day. We are all just people trying to survive this game called life. Bad stuff happens to good people. Everyone has their struggles, and no one is immune to difficulty and devastation. As I make my way back to the safe and controlled environment of my home, I find myself grateful to have survived another day, and always looking for ways to make a better tomorrow.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Days like yours really make us realize that while we suffer there is hope for us. This is not the only horrible struggle in the world. I hope your friends are finding their own strengths. Glad you are back to the refuge of your home.

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