Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mall Rat

Today Sallie and I headed out in the dreary Missouri humid rain to run some last minute wedding errands. (Like trying to find a ring for me that A) Doesn't cause my finger to swell up and B) I can stand having on my finger for more than 20 seconds) We started our journey at West County Mall, one I've never been to, and probably won't return. Its not a bad mall, but it definitely is set up more for the female crowd. Normal malls throw guys a couple of bones like having several book stores, CD stores, or video game stores, but this mall had one Walden's Books and nothing else.

We started at a store that specialized in purses and some jewelry. Sallie informed me that the cheapest purse at this store was probably $300. We quickly left, for I was wearing a seven year old T-shirt and obviously didn't belong here. However, the crowd that was in the store fit perfectly. All older ladies, dressed up way too much for the mall .

Then Sallie found the Mecca of girly-girl women's shops, Sephora, and I high-tailed it to the Walden's I saw on the way in. I knew that Sallie's eyes were going to constantly be falling out of her head, and her tongue would be dragging on the floor for at least twenty minutes, so I took my time in Walden's and played on of my favorite games: try to guess what book this person is looking at.

First off, two very stereotypical IT guys were taking up a large portion of the magazine section. They were both probably in their mid-40s, with IBM logo-ed polo shirts, and were both mildly overweight. My first guess was some sort of consumer electronics magazine, but I was dead wrong. They were discussing their fantasy football draft picks and holding a magazine dedicated to fantasy sports. I almost feel this is more nerdy than if they were reading a consumer electronic magazine.

I started perusing the fiction section, finding that whomever managed this particular Walden's liked to play it safe and filled shelves with the likes of Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Dean Koontz novels. There was very little of interest in the fiction section so I moved to the next row where humor section was.

A thirteen year old boy was reading a book called "I Hope they have Beer in Hell." It's a collection of stories this alcoholic wrote about his awesome college drunk experiences. I thumbed through a few pages only to find anecdote after anecdote about his friend that peed in a parking lot or barfed in the cab. Something I can't imagine anyone, except someone who isn't old enough to drink, would want to read about.

The rest of the section was essentially filled with pop-culture essay collections. If I ever become famous enough for people to care enough about my opinions pop-culture, I would love to put out these books several times a year. I basically already do that with my blog, but force people to reading them.

I then climbed around to my favorite sections: Sci-fi, Graphic Novels (comic books), and hobbies.

The sci-fi section was particularly pathetic. For instance, Star Wars novels are an obvious shelf filler in this genre. Yes, they did have a couple of novels, but if you bother stocking Star Wars novels, you better have a couple by Timothy Zahn. He more or less is the most loved fan fiction writer of the series. Most of the shelf was filled with Halo and Warcraft fan fiction. I haven't read any of these, but I have to imagine they are probably not great as the games they are based on are somewhat mediocre.

Anyway, the hobby section backed up to the sci-fi section and some lady was reading a photography book. I decided to try a little experiment to help pass the time. Experiment title: How much personal space does a person need?

I stepped a foot or so closer to the subject about every thirty seconds to see how long it was before this lady moved down. Once I entered her two and a half foot safety bubble, she moved down about a foot. I continued to push her further down the aisle until eventually I was pretending to be interested in the "Young Adult" and eventually the "Read with Me" toddler section. It wasn't until I pushed her into the corner that she finally walked the long way around the shelf back to her original position.

If I've done anything today, its to immortalize myself in her life. Right now, she is probably talking to her girlfriends about the creepy sci-fi, immature reading, guy that kept getting closer to her.

Lastly, I moved toward the comic section. A beer-gutted, backwards pre-frayed hat, college kid was looking at an X-men graphic novel. (Which already tells me that this guy probably doesn't really read many comics) As soon as I started thumbing through old Batman comics (they had a good collection I'm assuming because of the movie) the college guy moved to the other side of the shelf and started reading body-building books. Comics and body building just don't go together. This kid is obviously confused about who his is. He wants so bad to be a nerd, but he knows his "bros" just wouldn't accept him because that life style goes against the beer god.

I had already made my rounds at Walden's, and after thumbing through a coffee table book on the most famous assassinations, I decided to go pull Sallie out of the make-up superstore before the money I haven't earned yet was spent. As I showed up I saw her getting handed a membership card, and a bag filled with goodies. She assures me that everything in the bag is for the wedding, and that I can even use this creamy stuff to keep my face from being so shiny in the heat. (And then she laughed and said we'd have to rub it all over my head. Ouch!)

We wandered in and out of about five more clothing stores and jewelry depositories but found nothing of interest. I was desperately hoping to find an EB Games of some sort because I've had technology lust lately. (That's my next blogs topic) Alas we found no clothes, no ring, and no entertainment. I've decided that I'm officially done with jewelry stores. (Mostly because I feel uncomfortable stepping into a place I know nothing about. Like when you get your car fixed and you know nothing about it. You only know the mechanic is going to screw you.)

Where do you go when you can't find what you're looking for?
Wal-Mart! Within ten minutes, I had a ring in hand for cheap, with no hassle whatsoever. As much trash as I talk on Wal Mart, today I loved them.