The Mall is not a place I like to hang out. In fact, I pretty much hate those cathedrals of consumerism. On occasion, however, I’ll meet friends at the food court for lunch. Mall food courts have several advantages.
First, there is a wide variety of mediocre culinary delights to choose from. Even the pickiest palate (i.e. mine) can find something to eat. Second, seating is flexible. You can arrange tables so that any group from two to twenty (I’ve been in both extremes) can sit together. Finally, loiter as long as you want. No waiter hanging over you waiting for his next tip. No tip at all!
Anyway, that’s how I found myself at the mall. The real point of this rambling is how invisible I felt as I walked down the center atrium on my way back to my car. In an attempt to feel more like the homey town centers they’ve effectively crushed, malls park “kiosks” throughout their less-than-hallowed halls to hawk junk no one could ever possibly need to vulnerable passersby.
Somehow, no one was interested in accosting me. I strolled by stalls, booths, and pushcarts totally unnoticed. People in front of me and in my wake were victims of their sales pitches, but not me. How did they know I wasn’t in desperate need of an electronic cigarette or iPhone bling cover? Even though I stared longingly at the hair extensions display, the sales lady with the waterfalls of tresses didn’t give me a second glance.
Particularly painful was the experience of being shunned by the girls trying to sign up potential models. Can there be a better career path than being represented in the high-flying fashion world by a company that virtually abducts strangers at the mall?
Remote control helicopters, tickets to obscure events, Jesus junk, new cell phone plans, cosmetics, eyebrow “threading”, and so much more were freely (but not cheaply) available in this 21st century Vanity Fair. But no bar-quality sports signs, no obscene t-shirts, no cheesy sunglasses nor cheesier perfumes were proffered in my direction. Not being in the demographic they seek to
swindle, er, solicit, I was totally invisible.
Invisibility is highly underrated.