I’m Just Saying: Misadventures at the shopping mall

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 22, 2018

Paul and I were searching for a particular chair slipcover last week and found ourselves compelled to descend into one of Dante’s seven levels of hell.

A shopping mall.

The last time I trudged through one of these antiquated caverns of despair was when Spencer’s Gifts was still in business. And don’t even begin to act like you never bought your brother the fake dog do-do for Christmas, or at one time didn’t have the black light Hendrix poster on your bedroom wall. For the longest time, there was even an urban legend every teenager believed that stressed if you knew the “secret code,” employees would sell you a secret stash of marijuana kept from the general public in one of the stock rooms.

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Ahhh, the ‘80s…

But it was a hot June day in 2018 as Paul and I poked our heads into Dillard’s, then said goodbye to Sears, depressingly going out of business and taking our childhood with it. Who didn’t wait for the Sears “Wish Book” catalogue to arrive before each Christmas?

As we walked, we passed empty store fronts with signs pleading “For Lease,” and new shops that have sprung up.

“What’s a Brow Bar?” Paul asked as we both noticed the only shop that was filled with customers, most sitting patiently awaiting their turn.

“I have no idea.” I replied.

“Do they sell, like, eyebrows?” he pressed.

“Don’t ask me,” I shrugged. “Maybe they pluck your eyebrows for you.”

“Who’s that lazy that they can’t pluck their own eyebrows?”

I was going to tartly reply maybe if you’re far sighted or arthritic, you’d need help, but then Paul threw me another query as we passed a Victoria’s Secret and he read the sign advertising a sale on specific items.

“What’s a bralette?” he wanted to know.

“How should I know?”

“It says ‘all bralettes and bottoms’ are on sale.”

“So go in and ask them.”

“They’d think I was a perv,” he muttered, then added, “Besides, you should know this stuff, you’re a girl.”

“Well, the lab tests aren’t back, but yes, it’s assumed I’m a girl,” I replied. “But I’ve never been to a Brow Bar or bought a bralette. Just like you’ve never bought a homburg.”

“What’s that?” Paul asked.

“You should know, you’re a man. It’s a hat. Like a fedora.”

It was one of those fruitless Saturday afternoon conversations and we fell silent as we passed the food court selling the giant pretzels, and the Yankee Candle Store, always handy when you are utterly void of any originality when it comes to gift giving.

“Where’s the Chess King?” Paul frowned.

“In 1975,” I replied. “Next to your Member’s Only jacket.”

In the end, after walking nearly 7,000 steps, we never found a slipcover. As millions of others have done, we left the mall and turned to Amazon to order it. 

But we did find our glory days. A little faded, but they were there.