“For this is true and sad, that I need them
And they need me. What can we do? We need
Each other’s clumsiness, each other’s wit,
Each other’s company and our own pride. I need
My face unashamed, I need my wit, I cannot
Turn away. We know our clumsiness,
Our weakness, our necessities, we cannot
Forget our pride, our faces, our common love.”

(Delmore Schwartz)

We need to see and be seen when it comes to shopping and gravitating towards the mall or shopping town center.  Of this I am certain.  For I have been persuaded as far back as I can remember that MALLS were here to stay as symbols of suburban materialism and sterility.  We would die before they would was commonly assumed.

Isn’t it in our DNA?  Especially for teenagers?  At least I hope it is still.

The combined “all in one” glory of a deluxe shopping mall.  A veritable red wood tree amid saplings.

A place where pop culture reigns and the outside world is shoved aside and reinvented with beguiling man-made distractions.

And let’s not even bother with debating about whether we prefer the current trend for healthier outside town centers versus the stodgier and paler indoor malls.  It’s the same thing in my book.

It’s all precious public market place terrain.  Heck, I even get a very strong Walt Whitman type buzz just frequenting my area shopping centers.  I swear I once saw the old bearded bard loitering at the frozen food section puzzled over label claims.

That’s why people still flock to ultra-luxurious movie theaters with vast spaces of leg room, cup holders and padded, reclining perfection right?

The ultra-escapism offered up at these new movie theaters persuades me of this hope.

It is the perfect reason why a private home viewing just won’t cut the mustard.  Heck, these theaters have even been audacious enough to temporarily push back the ever encroaching tide of public cell phone use with very urgent notices to obey etiquette (and it actually mostly works!).  So just lean back in perfect ergonomic luxury with perfectly placed cup holders and first class leg room and enjoy the wide BUFFER space previously only enjoyed by ADA carrying patrons and their loved ones.

Have I been persuasive enough?  Please say yes.  Because I’ve conceded my youth to a lot of fickle changes that have left me dazed and confused more than a few times.

Despite the gaping cliff facing us with the national election in which nobody wants to talk about who they are voting for and Canada seems a viable option for relocation—the public store as represented by LOTS of public stores at the MALL moves on with us!


So let’s put on your best, luckiest MALL outfit and drive out there at the very same time!  And I will see you there.  We need each other’s company.  We need the crucible of having a ONE stop shopping event to draw us in like a magnet.  We need the lazy, passive power of the MALL with all its plastic, passing fancy.  We need to brave the Christmas shopping and see the decorations.

It’s the perfect vehicle for seeing and being seen.  It offers what we need for practicing those safe and sanctioned social skill rituals with the power to connect and validate.  It’s a multi-sensory mecca.

It’s FAR more than just fashion.  It accompanies us past our high school days and our first favorite bands.

And it is the type of virtual reality I prefer over the on-line screen one.

Please say you do too.

Because I don’t ever want to be so clever and savvy with my private world of purchasing that I forget to see you at the mall.


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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