December 22, 2009

Center of the World

 Photo: James Mustico
I know malls suck. There was a time in my life when I really cherished the mall, and shopping and those candy bins and giggling but I feel like that love died when I was 16 and I came out of Nordstroms to find a firetruck parked next to my truck which was altered considerably from the pristine state that I left it in (charred, windows smashed, wet and totaled). But I have had some good times in malls since my early teenage years:
Last Christmas when there was all that snow and Jocelyn and Alexa and Ben and I ran through a large portion of the Lloyd Center to catch the matinee of Australia, dodging people laden with bags and children with balloons tied to their wrists. There's something about running inside in crowded places. And when I came back from Japan and Heidi took me to Clackamas Town Center and we ate a Cinnabon and watched overweight people and people with wide-legged jeans and green hair and facial piercings eat Cinnabons as well and I realized that I was really back in the states.
But last night was the absolute best. Liz and I drove out to Cinetopia in Vancouver to see Avatar. I don't really know anything about this movie (something about blue people, aliens and James Cameron) but it's supposed to be three-dimensional and I've never actually seen a movie like that before. So I was excited. And then we got there and it was sold out and the next show at 8:30 only had the front row seats so we drove back to Portland, straight to the Lloyd Center in hopes of catching it there. And Liz kept trying to make me use her crazy phone with the touch screen and internet and ridiculous buttons everywhere, which was pretty unsuccessful, though we did make up some really nice songs about James Cameron.
And we ran into the Lloyd Center Theater and Liz asked if they had tickets for Avatar and this kid said, "Yes we do." And we both said, "Yes!" and gave each other this epic high-five and it echoed through the lobby and then she followed up with, "In 3-D?" And the answer to that was no. Huge letdown.
We could have, at that point, been utterly defeated. She could have given me a ride home and then I would have gone into my kitchen and microwaved some frozen vegetables and ate them while reading a crappy magazine and then I would have gone to bed.
But that's not what you do when challenged with adversity. I told her, "We are going to go to the Lloyd Center and we are going to watch the ice skaters." She responded to this with less than enthusiasm. "It will be amazing," I said. "It will be wonderful." She conceded and then we ran across the street and entered the mall and it was, of course, terrifying, she mentioned something about the weight of all humanity and then we were there at the rink, leaning over the barrier, laughing hysterically at these kids, falling, zipping around, slamming into walls, brothers in matching snowflake sweaters, middle-aged man with his hands in his pocket doing hockey stops and power pivots, all the bowed ankles, the amazing grunt-groans expelled when they hit the ice, enthusiastic parental support, and eventually suspicion as they noticed the two girls standing at the railing breathless with laughter, at times almost too weak to stand and that's when we left. Also because this guy was starting to vibe us as he zipped by with spin moves and come-hither stares. Liz muttered, "We've been spotted", and we ran out. And somehow in all of this I lost my blue glove.

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