crowded mall – a mindset

This is really more of an oscillate entry, but for various reasons it’s been a while since i’ve posted on here and my thoughts about this bleed into resonate territory, so i thought i’d cross over. Not with John Edward. ahem.

I’ve been sick for a good four or so days now with some sort of cold/flu/feverish thing that’s been passed around. I”m not 100% back to full health, but i was feeling alert enough earlier to get some work done and then decided that i wanted to venture over to the mall even though i knew it was probably going to be a madhouse.

And it was what i expected it to be: traffic was fussy both in and out, parking took an extra twenty minutes, lines were long because there were so many people there even for crappy mall food and there wasn’t really anywhere to sit to eat. On top of that, I didn’t accomplish what i set out to accomplish, which was to buy something for the white elephant christmas tradition for my trip back to PA, mainly because i was being too picky about it. Two hours or so later i was sporting a bad headache and a feverish sort of feeling because i had run out of flu medicine and didn’t buy any more earlier because i thought i had kicked it.

In general it should have been a pretty miserable experience. And i absolutely loved it.

Back in 2004 i wrote a livejournal entry whose main thesis was that so much of my life does not involve standing in line for anything that sometimes standing in line is not merely something that i don’t mind doing but is a welcome change of pace. The experience i had today was akin to that; it had a different sort of flavor but still had its origin to the philosophy behind that thought that i still hold to seven years later.

which, when it comes down to it, has something to do with “experiencing life” or some other catch-phrasey nonsense.

there were two thoughts that drove the whole experience. The first was, “i haven’t really done anything at all in the past four days other than watch a lot of british telly and play ‘Hidden Dimensions’ on Kongregate because i’ve been sick.” The second was, “I have absolutely nowhere to be today.” Both fueled each other. Firstly, it was a delight to be out of the apartment and feel alert enough to do something other than just sleep, eat and take drugs. Secondly, in my head, the only real result of getting the experience done quickly was to get back here sooner to do what exactly? Waste more time doing the same thing that i’ve been doing for the past four days? it wasn’t even that i wasn’t in a hurry, it was that i didn’t *want* to be in a hurry.

so the whole experience was a journey, a puzzle, a data-collection manager, &c. When i first hit the parking lot and its bottlenecks, i had thoughts about the design of short parking lot rows, while at the same time i deduced i’d be better off parking farther away than trying to deal with the bottleneck of the short rows. When i went into the actual mall i was overwhelmed with people in a sense that i normally only get at airports and it felt fantastic. I remember walking into the Apple Store, saw all of the red shirt employees thinking, “huh, last time i was in here all the employees were wearing blue, i wonder if it’s a holiday thing”. I saw a kid using one of the store lappys to chat on facebook and a question popped in my brain about age limitation use of facebook given the recent LJ announcement that they’re no longer allowing users under 13 to use Livejournal regardless of parental consent. As i was standing in line for bad mall food the two people behind me were having a friendly debate about flat tax versus weighted tax and the way that they spoke about it and spoke in general, even to the people who were serving the food, made it clear that they were successful or aspiring-to-be-successful businessmen. Even as i started to get a little delirious from my fever while in Brookstone, i remembered thinking to myself how at odds the front of the store was with the back of the store because of the employees who were charged with attracting customers by playing with silly one-off trinkets rather than things in the store that have more long-term worth.

Some of those thoughts weren’t new, some of the people and experiences were just variants of what i’ve seen before. But all of it was *fresh* given my recent vegetableblob state, and fresh is really what i needed and made me realize that that was the reason i decided to make the trip in the first place.

And it’s a good reinforcement of the attitude that i try to have towards life. It wasn’t even an issue of practicing patience because as far as i was concerned there wasn’t anything to be impatient about, there wasn’t anything to “tolerate”. It’s more that in the face of an experience that most people would dread and find annoying i can find something absolutely wonderful about it that contributes to my own emotional and mental well being.

Good thing too, since i need to shop again tomorrow.

Mendel Lee

I'm a composer, musician, and music educator residing in New Orleans, LA.

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