Talk about your Greatest Hits day: morning at the pediatricians, then Target, the grocery store, and the Target store. This bleat writes itself.
Wish it would, too. Lots to do this evening; Im putting the finishing touches on the April-May movie. Way behind schedule. Usually I do 20 minutes per month, but since I was simultaneously editing while learning how to use a new program, things went slowly. Its not bad, considering - and its all in glorious 16:9.
The Apple Store trip was thwarted, at first; the four kids computer stations were occupied by largish teens, all of whom were playing the Barbie dress-up game. When I saw they all had the same game on their screens I wondered if theyd networked the machines, and were having some sort of Barbie deathmatch, but no. They were just being bored and ironic. So we left the store and wandered around the mall. Ice Cream Ride, Gnat insisted, and I had no idea what she was talking about. My wife said theyd added some kids rides at Southdale recently, but I didnt know where, so we searched the four corners looking for tot-themed diversions. The mall was populated entirely by idle teen girls. Its amusing, and slightly dismaying, to see teen girls in 2003 look like they did in 1973. Hip-huggers, tight shirts with strings that tied at the back, straight-part hair. Its a look that makes me think of Boones Farm and Black Oak Arkansas. One new fashion twist almost made me laugh out loud: tight pants that ended at mid-shin and flared waaay out. Completing the look, platform sandals. You just wish the fashion paramedics would screech up in a van and administer 20ccs of Anne Taylor, stat.
Slinking around the mall were small sweaty packs of teen guys radiating waves of dorkness and desperation, and it reminded me of the central cruelty of a teen boys experience: the girls are always about 19 months ahead of you in every way. They may be 15 or 16, but to your eyes they are indistinguishable from the women in the Victorias Secret store posters - they have the hair, the proportions, the attitude, the bazooms. And there you are with your zits and stupid shoes and band T-shirt and slack gut and your inability to say anything, let alone the right thing. In my day it was bad enough, but now these guys have to compete with gigantic wall-sized picture of buff nekkid torsos in the Abercrombie & Fitch stores.
When I was in high school, that sort of brazen hussyness was an arrow to the heart, because you knew it was all being wasted on a football player two grades ahead. Now it looks amusing. The Lil Slut style is not as sophisticated as its practitioners believe. But theyll figure it out eventually.
We found the Ice Cream Ride after all - it was in a small arcade in the malls Dead Node. Theres a three story court next to the Penneys, and its always had trouble keeping stores. Theres an order to these things, and you can track the demise of a mall node by how the area declines. It goes like this:
National Clothing Chain
Regional Clothing Chain
Individually owned clothing store, with a name like Nancys Closet
Weird-ass chain that sells a very specific range of merchandise, like knives or bird cages
Empty for several months, open at Christmas to sell prepackaged cheese logs
This particular node has a history few know. The lowest level was once connected to a subterranean concourse of stores; that area was eliminated in a mall-wide overhaul. One of the stores was a burger joint based on Al, the big-nosed restauranteur of Happy Days fame. It died. For years temporary walls sealed off the crypt of Als burger joint, but you could see half of Als face in neon-tube form peeking from behind the painted wallboard.
For whatever reason, the entire area has that indian-burial-ground vibe. It eats stores souls. The Ice Cream Ride was located in a prime storefront that used to be a Mexican-style clothing & gift store - one of those store that just makes you sad when you see it, because you know its someones hope & dream, and its going to die fast, and die hard.
Gnat rode all the rides. They cost 50 cents apiece. When I dropped the coins into the box, they made that sound that told you they didnt have much company.
Back to the Apple Store. The kids were gone, so Gnat ran to a computer, called up her favorite program and started drawing. I asked a sales associate if they had a printer that did CD labels. (Why do I need a CD label printer? Please. If you have to ask, you wont understand.) He said that the printer would indeed do the job, but why bother? Get a dedicated label printer. Do you have any of those? No. And how much are they? $500, or so.
The perfect was not only the enemy of the good, it was the enemy of the sale.
Thats all; much to do. But Ill leave you with this:
And making a triumphant return, recent Jasper!
See you Monday.