Stranger in a strange land

Yesterday some personal errands took me to the shopping mall. A couple of malls, to be precise, out there in the 'burbs: Bridgeport Village and Washington Square. I was not much of a mall guy before Covid, and the virus really put a damper on that sort of adventure. I hadn't been in a mall in a long time.

After walking around the places a bit, I must say there wasn't much of anything that looked appealing, other than in the wallet-emptying Apple store at Bridgeport (recently moved into a bigger space) and the pretzel stand at Washington Square (although I didn't buy any, the basic ones were tempting). The bricks-and-mortar retail world seems to have passed me by completely.

A lot of it seemed downright forlorn to me. A zombie Lloyd Center is mighty depressing, but even a functioning Washington Square didn't exactly perk me up. I remember, in much younger days, that the mall used to be a way of keeping up on what was going on in the world. Now it's just noise, visual and aural. Somewhere along the way I got the one and only dose of "Holly Jolly Christmas" that I can handle for the year.

Does anybody buy shoes in a store any more? Macy's had some thrown around, but it was obvious they were not even trying. Nordstrom is still giving it a shot, but there wasn't much there that looked good. 

I stood and stared at old-fashioned wingtip brogues glued onto light-colored sneaker soles. "Where would you wear those?" I thought to myself. I'm old enough that I might have even mumbled that out loud. Off I drove into the suburban night with an all-too-familiar feeling: I have turned into my grandfather.


  1. It happens to all of us eventually. The world slowly wears you down, and what seemed important 20 years ago is now just annoying. Then before you know it, the idea of driving a Buick and binging on John Wayne movies both seem like great ideas.

  2. I live on the coast, and Washington Square is as far as I will go anymore when I'm up there.

  3. When I was a kid and young man, Lloyd Center was almost magical at Christmas time. That is of course when it was in it’s prime, before the roof and before the later owners. The place lost all of it’s charm and the new management seemed almost embarrassed about it’s past, instead of trying to cash in on nostalgia.

    I even went to their offices once some 20 years ago and asked for copies of archival photos for a website that I was pondering about the history of the mall. They even refused my suggestion about doing some kind of exhibit featuring old photos and memorabilia. Their loss I guess, and the place eventually became a soulless wasteland.

    The less said about Bridgeport the better! It is like some kind of consumption wonderland for the Lexus crowd. My wife dragged me to a shoe store there once, and I felt as uncomfortable in there as that priest in the Exorcist did when he encountered Regan for the first time. Sheer torture for me, and I wanted to run from that place.


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