Friday, I went to the mall with the rest of the Portmandia clan. Normally, I do my best to stay away from shopping malls. Mrs. Portmandia has issues with crowd anxiety. I have a tendency to get irrationally angry with clerks and their pushy scripts. The little man just gets generally overstimulated by all of the noise and lights. The whole goulash makes shopping more of an expedition into dark territory than a simple chore.
We needed some new clothes for the boy. Clothes are kind of a pain to buy online. Kid’s clothes are even worse. Since we’re kind of on the broke side, we do most of our clothes shopping in chain stores where it’s cheap. This meant that we needed to go to the mall for the winter coat and pajamas that we needed.
The mall here exists in a strange fold of Little Bay Root, a place where the otherwise hipster-typical is replaced by a much more mainstream demographic. Suddenly sister’s pants and lumberjack beards are traded in for baggy jeans and fitted caps. The city suddenly doesn’t feel so lily white anymore. Everywhere there are stores selling brightly colored trash.
Here is the strange, ugly glare of our modern capitalism. Everywhere are young families spending too much of their money on things that they barely need. It is easy to see the effects of all those marketing dollars sending people to the mall to empty their wallets and fill up their credit cards.
Yet somehow, here I was in the nearly crystalized palace of everything I despise, and I really wanted a Jamba Juice. Sad and mildly hypocritical, I shopped at Old Navy and bought things on sale. I almost succumbed to the strange kiosks selling fuzzy hats in the middle of the concourse. Such a seductive song that they play at the mall and I found it easier to be angry with myself for being there than with the rest of them for falling for it too.
In retrospect, it is easy to intellectualize all of the things that I don’t the silly task of going to the mall and buying some clothes and then running home as quickly as possible. Some people probably go there for fun, people watching and partaking of the fast food. I on the other hand have my narcissistic need to rage about it. Isn’t that the whole point of posting on the internet?