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Two Hours at the Mall

I love the mall. The smell of new plastic. I like watching
people. Not in a creepy way, in the way that a writer watches people.
Like it’s channel 5. I sit outside of the arcade, fuck a few hours
away. Life writes itself if you let it. The fifteen year old
shoplifter who has no idea that I didn’t need to see her take those
jeans, to know that she did. I WAS her. The psuedo philosophical
seventeen year olds on the bench outside, smoking pipes and talking
about models. Me tweeting beside a teenager who’s tweeting about
hating malls while she pulls out a credit card with a higher limit
than the one I can’t get. I’m standing in Aeropostale wondering how a
size 14 could look so much like Baby Gap. I shop here when I want to
get a glimpse of what it must feel like to be 17 in 2013. I go into
Hot Topic and watch little dolls dressed like a Nightmare Before
Christmas selling Ramones t-shirts to fifteen year olds who want to
broadcast their indifference and rebellion. I want to scream “Fuck the
machine!” until I realize that I am standing in the machine. I observe
all of this like an adult with the mind of a teenager. For a moment
I’m tempted to ask the Ramones t-shirt wearer to name five songs by
the Ramones, until I realize that the Ramones are the one punk band I
don’t like. Also, I wore a Doors t-shirt when I was 18 but hey…I
knew five songs and hated “Light My Fire” Still, I did it mostly to
look cool and to say…”I’m so complicated.” So I get it. We all want
to be a little mystery, don’t we? They are all in that awkward phase
and so am I. I think I will die in it. I go to Claires and it is 1984
again and for two minutes I think about stealing a pair of earrings
just so I can remember not giving a shit. But I give it. The last
place I go is the Vans store. I call the manager “Conan O’Brien”
because he wears red hair and a smirk. He has loathed me for three
years because I made an angsty comment about a belt buckle. Even
though he works on commission he will throw a sale just for the
satisfaction of saying….”WE don’t have your size”. When he walks out
of the back room with no shoes, I see vengeful elation on his red
bearded face. I befriended the sales girl once. They always had my
size. She was getting a commission. Everyone was happy but Conan. He
broke us up. Now, I cruise the window to see if he’s working. I think
he knows. Because I don’t see him anywhere until I step inside and
BOOM!—he appears. We should have our own comic. I think I will start
smoking a pipe. Maybe give the Ramones a second chance. Maybe never
grow up.

About Ara Harris

Music junkie, Atari 2600 bringer backer, word maker upper, loves to photograph and write about suburban decay. Ara grew up on a corner lot in small town Ohio. She began escaping the micro minds of the Midwest by listening to music, watching b films, and touring the cities in her mind. She wrote poetry on the back of algebra tests and asked Lou Reed to take her to prom. Two decades later she self published a full collection of poetry that one reader described as “a Tom Verlaine riff in every synapse”. She believes that we all have a gift, we just have to find it.

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