Mall Walking 101
Confession: I am a mall walker.
Why do I feel the need to fess up?
However, when someone asks about my exercise routine, I tell them that I lift a few weights and take a walk every morning. When it’s a nice day I take a stroll near home and, when the weather outside is frightful, I walk the mall.
“You’re a MALL WALKER?” is the usual response, exclaimed in such a manner that likens my activity to some shabbily dressed nut-job who peddles candy from a van or listens to Billy Ray Cyrus records.
I never realized that wandering around in a building that sells clothes, cookware, and candy is just this side of criminal – or laughable. I never thought I needed to explain myself.
But I must.
I used to walk the neighborhood come heat or high water but after taking a few spills on the ice (Scott Hamilton I am not) during the winter months, I sought a different path, and the mall was perfect. I found myself walking past stores I’ve never heard of, from Aéropostale to Zumiez. Plus, it’s fun to people watch. There is the cleaning crew who are constantly on the move, the security guards who seem to take their jobs very seriously, and the maintenance men who I say a little prayer for as they stand atop tall ladders. The aroma in the food court is especially appealing as they cook up the goods they will soon be hawking. And they all seem to know one another. The squat young cleaning woman with the great smile seems to spend quite a bit of time making sure the area around the smoothie stand is spotless as the long haired guy behind the counter takes notice. One of the guards spends an inordinate amount of time at the stand where they serve breakfast sandwiches which is manned (womanned?) by another young lovely, who doesn’t seem to mind all the extra attention the man in uniform swings her way.
Outside of the staff and the walkers, there is a nice blend of older folks who are there for a cup of coffee and some conversation. Since I walk everyday, I find it amusing that these folks are there Monday through Friday, but never on the weekend. It’s like it’s their job. I wonder if, when they go on vacation, do they go to a different mall?
Then there are my fellow walkers who seem to follow some unwritten set of rules. For example, if you happen to cross paths with another walker, always avoid eye contact – kinda like what certain religious types do when they see someone from their congregation in the liquor store.
Other rules-of-the-roam: Guys walk alone, or with a female companion. Women walk in pairs. If your female friend can’t walk with you that morning, then you carry your purse. This way people will assume that you are shopping, not looking for love in all the wrong places.
And, (this is a biggie) you walk around the mall counter-clockwise. If you’ve ever run track, watched the puppies or the ponies run, went roller skating, or watched NASCAR, you know that the proper direction is counter-clockwise. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to join this tribe.
And if you do become a member, do yourself a favor.
Don’t tell anyone. You’ll avoid funny looks.
There you have it. I have now confessed.
I’m hoping there aren’t any other serious defects in my character that I’ll need to apologize for…
Is it okay that I like banjo music?
– Pat McNulty