But I really hate going to the mall now. I often think of that eager teenager who gleefully spent hours and a meagre allowance there each weekend. How on earth did I endure the mindlessness repetition? Back in the late 80s there was an arcade, barely more than a hole in the wall, which I instinctively knew was out of bounds. It was dark, noisy and smoky and guys from the worst schools in the city hung out there. Middle aged creepers hung out there too but I didn’t learn about that until I was much older. I’m not sure anything worse than smoking, cursing and leering was going on but that was risqué enough in my sheltered, grammar school experience. The bowling alley there was more of a hangout for functional alcoholics and bowling was boring anyway.
I think the highlight was the cinema. We used to get two movies for $6.00 TT which was about $1.50 USD at the time. Good, huh? Of course, one of the movies would be crappier than a toddler’s diaper after curry but that doesn’t matter much when you’re thirteen. We’d get to the mall at 2:00 pm on Saturday, check out the bookstore and music store (it still carried records) grab a cup of fries from Chicken Unlimited (ketchup and mustard) and hit the cinema at 4:00 pm. That was living! And for only $20.00 TT! When we started sixth form and became sophisticated and mature we switched from Saturday to Sunday because only teenyboppers went to the mall on Saturday. Where’s an eye rolling smiley when you need it?
But the point is that I’m not that kid anymore. I’m nearly middle aged, fairly cranky and impatient with the madding crowd. And so many of my errands now are connected to the mall: grocery, bank, eyebrow waxing. The other day I could no longer put off going to the bank. Unfortunately, this day and the first business day of the month were one and the same.
The bank was packed. The bank was slow. The women ahead of and behind me gave up in despair. The guy on his phone trying to convince his cousins to represent his branch of the family at a reunion in Canada and the expert on “sugar’s effect on children” kept the line entertained. Decent service from a teller who’d always been snotty before was a bit of a lift.
Waxing my eyebrows was another trial because the woman doing it was a new person! When it comes to grooming I live in fear of new people. I’m a descendent of the princess from ‘The Princess and the Pea’ and I get tired of explaining to new people that coming out in angry red blotches on my face, neck and arms is perfectly normal, doesn’t hurt, isn’t their fault and, hence, there’s no need to freak out. I’d come out in blotches even if Tinkerbell sprinkled fairy dust over me. By the way, am I alone in thinking Tinkerbell is the bitchiest of all the fairies? New waxer lady seemed to take my hot pink skin in stride after seeing that I wasn’t perturbed by it.
Highlight of the day, though, came at the bookstore. A mother and son were there debating a purchase.
Mother: Yes, you can get a book. Pick one.
Son: That one. * picks up a dictionary with an awed look * Look at all the words!
Mother: That’s a dictionary. Pick a story book.
Son: I want this one. I want the words!
Mother: I’m not buying you a dictionary.
Me: * exits hastily before laughing like a hyena *