May 10, 2010
Out for a walk again, and on the way, wandering through the mall on a Monday mid-afternoon. The first thing I noticed was that at least 9 out 10 stores had no customers in them! I am sure the clerks wondered what I was up to peering into every store like that!
I wandered to the far end of the mall, where I discovered the real action: the food court seating area quite full – of seniors having coffee. But very few with food.
Makes me wonder how all those stores and restaurants survive? Of course, much of what they offer is far from what I’d define as “needs.” So I’m also wondering: is it possible folks are really becoming more interested in simplifying their lives, and losing the shopaholic materialistic urge that has seemed to define our society for a long while?
And, hmmm… Do I want to spend my “elder” days drinking coffee at the mall food court? I wonder what seniors wish for? Dream of? Is this really where they thought they’d end up spending their days? (oh dear…)
Note! Most of the women sit in groups of 2 or 3 or 4, and chat. While the men (other than a few who have women attached to them) sit mostly alone. Some of the men read papers; most just sit and stare into space. How sad is that? I wonder why?
I suppose male relationships most of their lives (outside family) are centered on work or sports or hobbies. And when those “hands-on” activities run out – they’re left pretty much alone. While women mostly always seem to have sister-type-relationships with other women. And those kinds of relationships are easier to carry on. And even to make new ones. (Not to mention that there seem to be lots more elder women around to be friends with…)
There are some new model cars on display in the mall today. The men wander up and look them over. Maybe say a word to two to the other men peering in the car windows, checking out the shiny paint-jobs. But then they wander away in different directions. Alone. Just as they arrived.
Women, meanwhile, tend to come into the mall – and leave – together. Or if alone, they have made plans ahead of time to meet together. Or if truly alone, they are mostly “on a mission,” shopping, getting their hair done, whatever.
But the men alone? Mostly just wandering aimlessly, or sitting very alone (except for the ones poking around in the tech/electronics stores, waiting for their wives to finish shopping in the women’s stores).
Even the young adults wandering in the mall are couples, families, women together – or guys. Alone. And the clerks in the empty stores. Alone. Bored?
Interesting: People on benches. Sitting as far apart as they can without falling off. Facing opposite directions as much as possible. And looking lonely. Alone. Go figure.
Elevator music. “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing, Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago…?” Haven’t heard that for a long time. Somehow appropriate on a lazy, warm, sunny spring afternoon… at the mall… filled mostly with seniors…
(All the smiles, happiness, laughter, are in the bright spots where the children are. And when they smile, even the lonely old mens’ faces light up, and they smile back. And their day is brightened, and their aloneness is banished for a lovely moment).