Mall Walking

At the outset, I should say that I’m not a mall walker — never have been, nor a mall shopper either. When Rochester, N.Y. lost its downtown shopping, I’d go to Sibley’s — which became Macy’s — at Marketplace Mall. But I’d enter the store directly from the parking lot, get what I needed to, and go home. Typically I didn’t even enter the mall.

But on a busy day this past week, I was in LensCrafters at Northgate Mall here in Seattle to get my new glasses. By the time I finished, I had exactly an hour before I needed to swing by to pick up Archie at school. I decided to make the most of the hour to get in my exercise by mall walking, so as not to waste any precious time in the car going somewhere else. In an hour, I can get in my basic 8000 steps. Whatever I do beyond that during the day is gravy.

Mall culture is unfamiliar to me, and therefore intriguing. If you like malls you probably know all of this, but I didn’t. In a mall you can join the Marines, buy a new phone and switch carriers, get your body pierced, eat a huge warm cookie or pretzel with mustard or visit the food court and eat steam table ethnic dishes, drink a cup of coffee and have a sweet to go with it, visit the bathroom, try on every possible brand name sneaker, get skinny jeans on sale, have your makeup done, buy trendy clothes deeply discounted, get the newspaper or a paperback book, register for baby or wedding gifts, or fall asleep on a bench. I went back and forth from one end of the mall to the other five times, and no one bothered the sleeping guy, who had his shoes off and was dead to the world. He was well dressed, didn’t look homeless, and wasn’t bothering anyone, so apparently security didn’t care about the mid-afternoon nap.

I’m not a convert to mall walking, although it served my purpose that day. The place was pretty dead, so apparently they need a lot of converts to stay alive in this era of online shopping. I haven’t bought glasses online, although I know you can, so I hope the place stays there for the once or twice a year that I need it.

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