As a teen, my all-time favorite activity was going to the mall. I used to make bank babysitting back in those days and would promptly blow my wad on clothes. Had I known then that one day I would be in Los Angeles, I could have invested that cash and now be living the impossible LA dream as a homeowner. I blame you, Dad. Thanks for giving me “independence” and letting me “make my own choices.” Anyway… My friends and I would spend every free moment shopping at Oakbrook or Yorktown until we literally dropped. The pinnacle of this obsession would be those uber-special occasions when my dad would drop us off (pre my driving days) at Woodfield Mall for an entire Saturday. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Woodfield Mall was the bomb back in the early nineties. Once the biggest mall in America, it had everything. You could walk around all day long and not pass the same store twice.

The sights, the scents, the sounds were intoxicating to me. The Gap, Express, Banana Republic… Do any of you remember when Banana Republic was a safari gear store? I still miss those fabulous t-shirts with the lions and/or leopards and/or rhinos and/or maps of Africa on them. If I remember correctly, Woodfield’s BR even had a Jeep sitting outside its entrance. What happened to that store anyway? It used to be fun and cool. Now it’s a slightly hotter version of Brooks Brothers.

But I digress. My point is that I used to love the mall.

As I’ve gotten older, however, my preferences are changing. Case in point – I hate The Grove. For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Grove is hell on earth. An outdoor mall with a so-so animated fountain and completely unnecessary trolley system, it somehow draws in half of LA every single day. The sights, the scents, the sounds are nauseating to me. I don’t even know why I go there.* Okay, sidenote: Who watches TMZ? Okay, full disclosure: I watch it every Sunday night. And every Sunday night, every other clip they show is of some B list celebrity at The Grove. This is partly why I loathe this place. Everyone there either wants to see or be seen. The stores are just a front for the main attraction: people watching.

Don’t get me wrong, though – I love to people watch. I will show up at the airport a good hour or two earlier than necessary just to take a seat and stare down all the very odd people that somehow made it past security and may be sitting next to me at thirty-five thousand feet for the next four hours. I also love watching people in their cars. Why does no one realize that they’re not magically invisible inside their Ford Focuses? I can see you picking your nose, sir! Anyway, I get the whole people watching thing, but The Grove somehow sucks all the fun out of it. For one, everyone struts around like they’re too cool for school. Second, they strut in slow motion. OMG! Move, people! I’m sure that mochaccino is delicious, but can you walk at the same time? Apparently not.

Honestly, though, no one really needs to shop at The Grove. All the big name stores – Barnes & Noble, Victoria’s Secret, Crate & Barrel, um… I don’t even know what the hell else is there – all these stores are just mere minutes away at The Beverly Center or 3rd Street Promenade or The Americana or the eighty-seven other malls in and around Los Angeles. After all, LA is just a city of malls conveniently connected by streets continuously congested by would-be consumers trying to get to the Pottery Barn before it closes. So again, the only reason people go to The Grove is to shamelessly stare down would-be celebrities walking around with their annoying Cockerpoos or Maltipoos or Yorkiepoos or whatever “poo” variety of dog is the new, hot, trendy thing. Get a life, people. Do what I do. Save the gas money and get your celebrity fix on TV.

* I do love The Cheesecake Factory. They make “real” cherry Cokes with grenadine. They somehow lessen the pain of knowing that I just wasted a few more precious hours of my life aimlessly walking around like a zombie with only a new blouse and an empty soul to show for it.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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One Response to “You Have Nothing Better To Do? No?”

omg, Yorktown and Oak Brook were my hang outs too!

May 7th, 2010