What happened was, we needed to visit the Apple Store on Saturday and in Vancouver that means the big glitzy Pacific Centre at the heart of heartless flavorless Downtown.
Because we have the immense good fortune to inhabit a tightly-packed neighborhood where the main streets are full of stores mostly not part of chains, I almost never need go malling.
An upscale mall, when you don’t often visit, seems an expensively-squalid snarl of bright madness. The over-lit stores pulse urban beats discordantly into the over-lit not-a-hall, not-a-street, well whatever you call the privately-owned rectilinearly bounded space between the boutiques, crowded on a good day, achingly vacant otherwise.
In the stores are items of clothing mostly; the names on the labels and sometimes the stores are those of famous Italians. The prices are stupid, and the reason they’re stupid is to pay the ugly rent for the ugly space. I’ve enough belief in the workings of markets that I try to cut this busy pseudobazaar some slack; but I notice that few seem happy while they shop.
The Apple store is a madhouse and our kids love it. I tended them with the store’s help while Lauren negotiated with the hip and helpful iSalesDude. Our 9-year-old settled on the hip iBallChair by the iMac and started poking at a iGame he’d never seen in that dopey open-minded way that always works for 9-year-olds. Our 2½-year-old can’t manage games but there was another iMac running Dr. Seuss’ Alphabet, with music: “Ichabod is itchy. So am I.”
Lauren’s purchase required 45 minutes worth of upgrading in the back room so we thought we’d upgrade the boy’s shoes too; they’re in a sad state. But the mall doesn’t want to sell to children—no fashion sense, after all—and as failed shoppers we were glad to slump wearily in a coffee shop, and wait.
It’d been probably only ninety minutes elapsed in mallspace and malltime when we fled downtown. As I aimed the Honda toward our own messy unregulated ’hood the radio happened on an Irish woman’s voice slow and rich in front of many strings. Now, there are excuses: stress at home and work and also I’m a bit sleep-starved. Still, it’s weird when your eyes won’t stop filling with tears because you’re driving away from a mall.