A Meditation on the Mall
I hate to admit it, but the one place where I don’t ponder my own eminent death is at a mall. Maybe it’s the smell of the food court, the linoleum flooring, the shadowy lighting of flourescence coming from the windows of Anne Taylor. Who knows? But what I do know is looking at stuff relaxes me. Pretty things. Christmas ornaments. Earrings. Potholders. It really doesn’t matter. I’ll look at anything as long as it is in a mall.
For starters, the mall is mostly relaxing to me when I am NOT buying anything. When I am shopping to actually make a purchase, the whole scenario takes on the nuance of an errand. Buying stuff requires (usually) trying stuff on and that can be a wee bit stressful—always. (Shopping for jeans and bathing suits is right on top of the how to torture me list.) But walking around the mall? Not in the mall-walker sense but in the remember in junior high when you had nothing to do and so you walked around the mall sense, is (as we used to say back in the day) totally awesome.
My favorite store at the moment is Anthropologie. I learned recently that they have two hired artists who solely work for their store creating magnificent arrangements of stuff. It matters not that there is little I can afford there. I love perusing, running my hands through boxes of clearance door knobs, and cutesy kitchen towels. I love the section in the back where they have bed linens, bath soaps, and pajamas. I love the handbags they sequester on the corners of clothing displays. A walk through Anthropologie is the equivalent of a muscle relaxer. A brief stroll and I am pain-free. To put it in modern parlance, I ❤ it.
I’ll even look at pictures of stuff, hence my fondness of fashion mags full of clothing and handbags that I will never be able to afford, and even if I did, I would never feel comfortable buying. It relaxes me to stare at the latest wedgey heel from Jean Paul Gaultier and Rachel Zoe’s recommended clutch handbag for the fall.
Sadly, I have let this method of relaxation infiltrate my home. QVC is my new morning go-to channel. Tired of hearing reports of abused children and idiotic politicians, I have turned to the cheezy glitz of sales pitches. I feel I need to know why (exactly) I won’t be the same unless I buy a set of six Victorian Christmas ornaments shaped like Faberge eggs that play carols for an easy payment of $16.99 for two months. I feel I need to see how Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar transforms an aging model’s face into the feathery perfection of a twenty year old. Again, purchasing anything from QVC requires decision making which equals stress. Just watching is pure relaxation.
I guess to me, walking through a mall, or flipping through a mag, or listening to a sales pitch for things I’ll never need, makes me feel like I have choices and having choices is like having freedom. And isn’t that what America stands for? Let freedom ring.