This very unoriginal MallMood has been brought on by a distinct memory from a family vacation when my sister accidentally hit “YES” upon being questioned whether or not to reformat her camera because it wasn’t working properly. She thought format meant ‘to fix’. She didn’t realize that it would indeed probably fix her camera, but the cost is that it erases all the pictures she had previously taken. The catalyst to remembering the hundreds of memories from that vacation were forever lost.
I’ve recently had reason to ask this question to my soul/personality/karma and other entities, “Format? Yes/No?” because it’s very possible some sort of malfunction lies deep inside me requiring such drastic reversal, a swiping of the slate. Normally, when I feel this way, the solution is mall time and that’s why I’m in a MallMood as of late.
Why do I need to format? For a couple of months I’ve worked in the corporate world. I put in a lot of effort while there, even though I’m not really the “corporate” type. I produced great deliverables each day and worked long hours, but under the surface a constant pressure of being thrown into too many responsibilities continued to build. It swallowed me whole to the point where my lungs started to fill with a thick smoke of dread each morning and I wasn’t able to take a breath of fresh air until I fell asleep each night. My dreams then became worries that would start to creep in like those shadowy figures in the movie Ghost when the demons drag Willie Lopez away.
Yesterday, I resigned from this job. To give up a job in this economy is ridiculous! There must be something seriously wrong with me if I can’t even make it two months in a corporate job, so now I’m questioning, Format? Yes/No?
So, what now? Should I try to find another job where I might begin to drown again just to make the money so I can go to grad school or should I try to make it on my own doing freelance work, submitting my writing EVERYWHERE, and basically hustling for awhile (but maybe not as hard as Ace Hood).
While I ponder whether or not I’m a complete failure at life and should “format” myself, or whether or not I’m tough enough to scrape enough money together to pay the bills and still save a little for grad school, I’m feeling very much in a Friday Night Mall mood. I’m not talking about the kind of Friday night at the mall where you’re with your teenage friends causing mild trouble and walking in and out of Abercrombie, Hot Topic and other such stores where techno music and disorienting toxic cologne smells force you to shop faster causing horrible clothing decisions. No, no, I’m talking about the kind of shopping you do with your mom after a break up with the boy of the week, when you did something completely embarrassing at school, or when your friends don’t call you on a Friday night, so she offers to take you out and soothe your worries with shopping and a Cinnabon.
In this mood, it’s pouring down rain outside, so it’s not like you have the option of doing many other “better” things. You don’t feel guilty that you aren’t doing something more fabulous and thus are sucked into a timeless vacuum. You’re wearing your favorite jeans and sweater so you’re all bundled up and comfortable. It’s far from chilly despite the arctic breeze of the mall air-conditioning reflecting off of the cold, marble floors.
In this particular mood, it’s the 90’s, obviously, because the 90’s were this chill state of time where you could go to the beach all day and then mall-surf at night when the afternoon storms hit. Plus, I feel like moods can be associated with time periods and that you can just press the rewind button and experience something happening in the present, in the context of a different decade. Wearing flannel and sweatshirts with jeans was fashionable during this time so that makes it even more appealing. Your mom takes you through Lord and Taylor and you pass by the men’s section where the cologne isn’t an overwhelming reminder of the jerk guys in all of your classes, just a soft smell creating a lounge-y ambiance. She tells you that whatever you did at school wasn’t that embarrassing, that the guy you broke up with was a jerk anyway or that your friends are losers and you’re just too mature to hang out with them.
You’re feeling better and things you try on seem to look fabulous. Each outfit opens an array of possibilities. If you only buy and wear this outfit, embody this particular style, you could BE this type of person. Buying this jean jacket with patches might actually look cool and thus make you cool like a Joan Jett of sorts. Or if you buy this flower print dress, you could embody Molly Ringwald and thus be the girl from Pretty and Pink. That graphic T-shirt that kind of shows your stomach a bit might make you the new Gwen Stephani.
The dressing rooms of the adult departments of the mall have low lighting and minimalist beige paint and furniture. On the speakers you hear Sade, George Benson or maybe even some DMB if you’re lucky. Something in your heart starts to quiet a bit. The rain pelts on the skylights as you walk through the food court which seems more like a special carnival with the merry go round instead of it’s usual dilapidation. Memories from the other day when you listened to Champagne Supernova on the way home from picking out hermit crab shells on the beach start to seep in with the tide, erasing anxiety. At home, you stare out the window through the slits of the blinds and watch the rain through the dark fall onto the pond while you read Wait Till Helen Comes and listen to the Friends soundtrack. You start to realize that whatever stupid troubles you’re having don’t matter because if you can have a night like tonight, you will be ok.
This weekend, I plan to be in a 90’s Friday Night Mall with your Mom Mood where troubles melt away. There will always be trouble, but if you have a support system who will tell you you’re awesome even when you do un-awesome things, if you have time to walk through the mall without buying anything just to try on a new personality, if you can imagine yourself in another decade where the everyday experiences then could soothe your current troubles, and if you can snuggle up with a blanket and watch a movie or read a book with some comforting tea, the world will soon be your oyster.
Here’s a post-millennial version of my MallMood Playlist:
Have you ever been in a MallMood? What kinds of music, clothes and memories do you associate with this mood?