Last night somebody on my block turned on their Christmas lights for the first time. Despite the fact that Costco has been selling Christmas stuff for more than a month and all week the nice man from Canada Post has been dropping off Christmas catalogs and flyers, it still seemed too soon.
But it's not. So once again I have to suck it up and do one of the things I most don't enjoy doing -- shopping.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not opposed to commerce, spending money or even having to cope with crowds. I just don't enjoy malls that much.
Something about them just -- unsettles -- me. I'm not exactly sure why.
Maybe it's that the bookstores are getting fewer and smaller and with way more books about Cats.
Maybe it's that the record store doesn't have listening stations anymore but they have lots of movie loot like "Superman" Cookie Jars and "Star Wars" Alarm Clocks. How did the people who used to sell music decide that the same people looking for tunes by "Aerosmith" or "21 Pilots" would be suckers for "Ghostbusters" T-shirts?
Come to think of it -- maybe that's what unsettles me. That you're no longer a customer with needs and desires, you're just somebody who buys stuff. Any stuff. Even stuff at places like "Lids". Somebody who'll buy whatever they put on the shelf because -- well, because what else are you going to do with your time and money...?
Food courts particularly unsettle me. Food courts are where you always meet people you know. You'll engage in 2 minutes of small talk and then they'll invariably say, "So, you're at the mall" -- pointedly observing that you clearly don't have anything better to do with your time and money -- or perhaps your life.
Filmmaker Ben Keegan perfectly captures my dread of malls in a terrific short film, "The First Men", based on an even darker short story by Stacey Richter which you can read here.
It might even convince you to avoid the mall.
Enjoy Your Sunday.
The First Men from Benjamin Kegan on Vimeo.