Sunday, November 05, 2006

n=5 progression of life: a view from the mall

Here is an observation from being at the mall last night. It includes gross generalizations that you are just going to have to live with.

We ate dinner at the outside bar that looks at the mall entrance so we watched people going in and out and then we walked through the ford court to go into the mall.

I saw a lot of teenagers posturing. There were girls flirting with boys and vice versa. Let’s assume they are not having sex… so there’s all this flirting and playing with the implicit understanding that what they want is sex, partnership, pairing, with the goal of marriage. And what comes with marriage? Kids.
You look at all these teenagers and they are having fun and there’s excitement, electricity, and energy.

Next you have the young couples. They are holding hands, or wrapped up in each other, and all in love. They are the teenagers in the next step or phase. Now they have coupled and there is the sense of relief, and perhaps excitement for the anticipation of what comes next. The potential of the rest of their lives. And what is that? Kids?

Then you have the food court and it is almost all parent(s) with kid(s).
And there is a look of faraway in their eyes. They are absentmindedly feeding the kid. Or they are wrangling the kid, cleaning the kid, trying to distract the kid.
There is a distractedness of longing for simplicity. They are at the mall to get out of the house and this is a safe place to go.

The progression.

Do you get what I’m trying to get at? It was weird seeing all phases in one place. I wanted to say to the teenagers “just look inside. Is this really what you want? Do you realize this is the end gave to your posturing? If you could, would you make different choices?


Rude Cactus said...

I'm sure there's a pretty interesting doctoral thesis in there somewhere...the mall as microcosm or something to that effect.

Aaron Stiner said...

From cradle to the grave, all in the mall. I think the common denominator is a lack of self awareness throughout the whole process. People get sucked in and they don't even bother to get out. The mall and all its toys anesthesizes the people. Numb, numb, numb, dumb, dumb, dumb. Give me the awake people, the alive people! They are certainly not found in mass quantities either in the mall or in Arizona. I am happy to have found a few!