So these last few weeks have been interesting. I went on vacation, but my wife had a chemistry conference that week, so I was left to my own devices in Minneapolis. Work had encroached upon my vacation time though, so I hadn’t done too much exploring. One day though, things seemed to be slowing down back at work, so I decided I would be safe to venture out. I decided to visit the Mall of America, that mall which holds the title of the largest mall in these United States.
Now, I had just gotten lost in the Minneapolis SkyWay earlier that day on my way to try to get a haircut. I ended up running around in the SkyWay for what seemed like hours. I was like a rat in a maze. I finally escaped though, bursting out into the street like a dolphin breaching the water, except less majestic and more pathetic. Surprisingly I left that experience encouraged to go conduct more exploring somehow.
So I took the train to the Mall, which is its own stop. Seemed simple enough, I’d ride the train to the stop, get off, enter the Mall, and experience its many wonders. It probably would have been simple, if I were a man of average intelligence, which I’m not. No folks, I ain’t too smart ain’t too smart at all. So I get off the train, which lets me off in what seems like a bus station (and indeed there were buses riding around in this subterranean area). I head into the nearest set of doors I see and I immediately see two police officers standing next to a gurney, talking to a man who is rolling around in circles in a wheelchair. I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t really want to get involved, so I turn around and walk out the door, assuming I had mistakenly entered the bus station hospital. After that I wandered aimlessly through the bus station trying to figure out how to gain access to the Mall of America. I’m an American citizen, so I figured it was my right to enter the Mall of America and I had come so far and now was being stymied and was stuck wandering a subterranean bus station. Eventually I realized I was being pretty foolish and was in danger of getting attacked by the trolls that I assume live under the Mall of America. So I just went back to where the police and the gurney had been, where I found an escalator that led to the Mall of America entrance.
So now I was in. The Mall of America was revealed to me in all of its glorious splendor. As soon as I entered, I was confronted with an aquarium within the confines of the mall. Amazing! I wandered some more and found an amusement park, movie theaters, thousands of stores and restaurants. It dawned on me that maybe someone had just built an amusement park and then built a mall around it and that’s why it was so large, but it didn’t matter, I was enthralled by the glorious monument to capitalism and consumerism that is the Mall of America.
Then I got lost. It truly is a big mall. I tried buying a pretzel and then using the crumbs from the pretzel to keep track of where I was going, but janitors kept cleaning up the pretzel crumbs so that was no use. I tried asking for directions, but everyone I met had come from a faraway country to view the grandeur of the mall and I couldn’t communicate with them and when I did seem to communicate using signs and symbols it seemed to me that they were asking me for directions too. So that didn’t work either. Eventually a man in overalls and a tweed hat with a long gray beard noticed me and called me over.
“Hi son! Welcome to the Mall of America!” he said, beaming.
“Uh thanks, who… who are you?” I asked, noting his strange appearance.
“I’m the Mayor of the Mall of America!” he said proudly.
“I didn’t know the Mall had a Mayor.”
“Well it didn’t originally, but I got lost and people kept seeing me around so they made me the Mayor!”
“Oh God, so you’re lost too? How long have you been here?”
“57 years! I’ve seen franchises come and go, empires rise and fall-”
“I don’t care about that! How have you been living in this mall for 57 years?” I asked, impatiently.
“Every day I collect the coins from the wishing well, and I use the coins to barter and trade with the shopkeeps.”
“Well do you know anyone who could tell me how to get out of here?”
The Mayor seemed to think for a moment and then looked me straight in the eyes.
“Nope.” he said flatly, and walked away.
Long story short, I’ve been stuck in the Mall of America ever since. Luckily I had my laptop with me, which I can use to update the blog, which I haven’t been able to do much since I’ve been trying to fight my way to the top of the Mall hierarchy. If someone could send me a map, I’d appreciate it.
Only about half of this happened. Several tragic events occurred in my life over the last few weeks, so I haven’t been writing, but I had this idea just around the time things turned bad, and I just decided to write it today. Hope it gave you a chuckle or two.