Malls Near and Far

A couple of friends are currently living in Bangkok. She’s Thai by birth, and he’s from various places in the USA, and somehow they ended up here in this town, where I met them. Now that she has end-stage cancer, she wanted to go home where she was most comfortable, so I haven’t seen them in months. I do hear from them periodically, however, partly because I am looking after their house and partly so he can touch base with his home country. At least that’s my theory.

She’s mostly housebound now, which works okay over there, since they have restaurants and food carts spread throughout the city, rather than clustered in specific areas as in this country. Even better, all those food outlets deliver.

What really caught my attention in the last email they sent were the photos of a mall they visited — a real treat for them since she hasn’t been able to get out except to doctors and hospitals.

The mall they went to is huge. Make that HUGE. The 26th largest mall in the world. 300+ stores. Parking for 5,000 vehicles. There are more people working in that mall than live in this entire town. And when you add in visitors, there are probably more people in that place on a given day than in the entire southeastern quadrant of Colorado.

When I stayed with my father, there was a mall I visited occasionally, and that only had 114 stores. Combine that with the mall closest to where Jeff and I lived in western Colorado, which had only 100 stores, and you’d still come up short.

I can no longer conceive of so many stores in one place. In this town, I’d bet there are only a couple of dozen stores all told, and that includes thrift stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and pot shops.

The last time I was in a real mall was many years ago when I lived in Denver — Cinderella City. It was something special back then, the first mall west of the Mississippi and supposedly the biggest mall under one roof. With 250 stores, it still falls short of the mall in Bangkok. It’s gone now — it seems as if it made history again at its end because it was one of the first malls to go obsolete.

(I’d forgotten, but I once had a store in Cinderella City, not on the main floor, but in the “Alley” where there were a bunch of boutiques. A friend and I sold clothes we designed as well as various hand-crafted gifts. My main claim to fame was a macramé pinafore with a halter-style top that I made, envisioning it as something to slip on over other clothes to dress them up, but a stripper bought it to use in her act. How did I forget that? Maybe because even though it makes a great story, it was merely a blip in my life.)

I’m sure there are many malls within a couple of hours from here in the major cities along the front range, but I have no real desire to visit any of them. I don’t particularly like to window shop and I certainly don’t need — or want — to buy anything. (I look at the images of all those container ships off the coast of the USA waiting to be unloaded, and I wonder what they could possibly contain that people want in such quantities. Almost anything I need is in this country already. And if it’s not, I probably could do without it.)

Still, it’s interesting to think of such places and imagine a different world from the one in which I live.

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What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times