Reflections and Scenes From a Mallrat

The touch screen on my phone stopped working a couple of weeks ago, and I had to drive all the way to Paradise Valley Mall to get a new phone, since that’s where the AT&T warranty center is.  PV mall was a major hangout for me all through the entire 1990’s.  First when I used to visit my grandparents, and they would drop me off there for hours. I would hang out at the arcade “Pocket Change” (a place where great romances were later born) next to the infamous Orange Julius(now a chinese food place) playing Cruisin USA(possibly the best car game ever with the exception of Fzero for SNES.) and spend time in the Vans skate shop. Basically I just wandered the mall and daydreamed,  the same stuff I still do now.

In the summer of 1996 when I moved to Phoenix, I knew absolutely no one, and as such going out with friends for me simply meant going to the mall by myself which was the closest I could get to actual human interaction(late night trips to Denny’s were also common.) The first Friday night that I spent in Phoenix, I went to the PV Mall theater and saw “Escape From L.A.” by myself.  I always had a love for Los Angeles(and would later live there and  subsequently make my own daring escape) Anyway, I remember the movie projector broke about 20 minutes into the movie, and so they gave everyone free movie passes to come back. I returned the very next day to see it again at the matinee showing.

For one of my first demo tapes in 1998, Oliver Hibert drew me a picture of the pv mall food court which I used as the cover. The mall closed down the arcade that same year, because they no longer wanted the place to be a teen hangout and didn’t like the type of people they were attracting(there was famously a stabbing/shooting there where someone was killed.)

I had an apartment across the street  from PV mall for a brief period in 1999 before moving to Los Angeles. It was at a place called Paradise Point. I’d go to the mall every day and spend hours there.

Anyhow, more than 10 years later there I was,  returning to my old stomping ground. I was taken aback by how small the place really is. How on Earth did I ever spend so much time there? It’s only one floor. There are like only two directions you can walk, and neither of them go very far.

I was pleased to see they actually brought back the arcade. Only now it’s called “Tilt”, and is only about half the size and is mostly an empty/self maintained video game room. There is no attendant or prize booth> The place just isn’t the bustling, action packed, hooligan teen headquarters it once was. It  almost serves as  a museum or memorial to the old arcade.

The old PV mall actually reminds me of  Logan’s Run, which was filmed in a mall that was built around the same time period(mid to late 70’s) and looks very similar in design(or used to before PV mall was substantially remodeled.) The mall logan’s run was filmed in was demolished in 2006.  Strangely, while attending the Dallas Guitar Show in 2007, I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Dallas that’s right across from where the Logan’s Run mall used to be.

In another  eerie Logan’s Run coincidence, at some point Paradise Valley Mall appears to have added a “Carousel” adjacent to the food court.

The security guards at PV mall were always notorious assholes, the stereotypical mall rent-a cops who comically take their job way too seriously.  After I managed to take this one harmless  cellphone photo, they promptly descended upon me like a pack of idiots to inform me that “cameras  and photos are not allowed.” It was almost (but not quite) enough to ruin my trip down memory lane.

 

Carousel is a Lie!

“Welcome, humans! I am ready for you! Fish, plankton, sea greens and protein from the sea. Fresh as harvest day. Overwhelming, am I not? Are you, too, startled? Am I too removed from your kin?

InformationI am more than machine. More than man. More than a fusion of the two. Don’t you agree? Wait for the winds. Then my birds sing. And the deep grottoes whisper my name”

-Box

the naming of cats is a difficult matter

Saturday afternoon I decided I needed a new uniform. When you’re not having any luck in the world, you can’t change the world and luck is imaginary…so all you can really do is buy some new clothes and/or shave. I went to American Apparel in Scottsdale, and bought this black longsleeve shirt/sweater which when combined with my black pants and white belt, made me look a bit like a sandman from the 1976 movie “Logan’s Run.” I bought an extra small for the hell of it, but when I got home and tried it on, it was too tight(not to mention hot as balls.) So I didn’t want to go right back to the store and exchange it for a small, because I was just in there, and it would be weird. Not sure why I would get anxiety about that, but I just felt like I would appear “wishy washy” to the cashier people. Like they would give me a look like “there’s something amiss with this dude. He just bought this and now he’s returning it 5 minutes later…what a nutjob.” I mean hey, that’s what I would be thinking. So I decided to go to the Tempe American Apparel and exchange it there…which turned out to be an amazing decision, because I was rung up by the friendliest cashier person I’ve ever encountered. Not since I was in a Casino did a person look so happy to take my money…(or in this case my merchandise for exchange.) When she asked me how my day was going I gave my stock answer of “It sucks” which was true enough and she seemed taken aback by that. These customer service questions can become so routine, that I think people are not prepared when you actually give a somewhat genuine response. “That’s not the answer people usually give” she said. Indeed, and just like that she almost seemed like a friend.

I was in a bad mood most of yesterday because the internet was down, and I had a lot of emails and other crap to tend to. I tried to go to the internet cafe and they were closed! Did they go out of business? I watched “Bullitt” with Steve Mcqueen, which I haven’t seen since about 2002. He’s great in it of course…but I’m not a big fan of realism in movies(unless it’s realism of emotion or humor.) I like movies that leave some things to the imagination. Mainly I think it’s just the “realistic” hospital ER scenes that are a bit too much for a hypochondriac like me to watch. I don’t like to see THAT far into my future.

I took a long nap and woke up rather frantically at midnight, just in time to throw on my new AA sweater and head out to Casey Moore’s. Most people I knew were MIA, but strangely everything fell into place. I took the initiative and met some people I had wanted to know for a long time. After the bar closed, during the outside part.. you know, that time when everyone(mostly dudes) stands around in search of nonexistent afterparties or with the fleeting hopes that something interesting will happen, but it rarely ever does…well in that short period of time I met a girl, who agreed to go with me to meet some friends at a cafe. Only when we started driving, we decided neither of us were hungry(not to mention we didn’t find the place) and so instead we went to 24 hour Walmart(an adventure in itself) and purchased an official NCAA basketball. We then drove to a park in Tempe and played basketball until the sun started to come up. We played three games of PIG, with her winning the first game and me the next two. In reality, we were evenly matched as we both sucked about equally…but we could potentially rule as friends with practice.

Today after a brief stint hanging out at Borders reading Darwin Porter’s unsubstantiated gossip filled, unauthorized biography of Steve McQueen “The King of Cool,” I decided to go back to the Tempe American Apparel and buy another of the exact same sweater I purchased the previous day. Miraculously, the same girl was there to ring me up again. I could tell she thought it was odd I was buying a duplicate of the item I had just bought…”hmm you’re getting another black top” she muttered curiously. But I told her that the other one had turned out to be good luck, and she seemed to understand.

If the dog wouldn’t have stopped to shit he would’ve caught the rabbit

So lately when go I jogging at night I keep almost getting attacked by vicious dogs. There is one particular Arcadia street which I prefer to jog through because of the lovely 60’s era tri-level houses, and because there are unlikely to be gangsters, trashy people drinking in their front yards or any other riff raff milling about.
However I failed to plan for the contingency of roaming unleashed attack dogs. I got chased by this pit bull the other night and it was reminiscent of that scene from Fletch except that I didn’t have a vehicle to flee in. Appeals to cooler heads such as “sit boo boo sit” fell on deaf dog ears. The thing was just unappeasable. At first he just sort of stared at me while maintaining a balance between rabid cujorian barking and an eerie “hound of the baskervilles” sort of growl….all emanating from a creature that from afar had looked about as menacing as the ghost of Spuds Mckenzie.

Then the beast just up and charged me. I had to climb a stucco fence and chill on top of it where the thing couldn’t quite reach me. He just sat there barking like the hounds of hell. I resisted the temptation to taunt the poor creature, and got down the other side of the fence and continued jogging.

I have started encountering these mangy mutts on a nightly basis, which has put me on something of an “orange alert” while jogging. The last time I had jogged at that color code level was when I was in
Florida several years ago, in an area where it would not be uncommon to see alligators while running late at night close to swampy bodies of water(although I never saw one.)

perhaps someone should run for office with the political slogan
“jogs not dogs”
Not me though. I don’t want to run for office(I’d be considered too racist, homophobic and creepy to ever get elected to anything anyway even though I’m not all of those things only one or two.) Rather I just want to run from office. As in, run away from my responsibilities, my obligations and myself in the present just like Rabbit in John Updike’s classic…or maybe Logan from a distopian far flung future embarking on a fast paced futile journey to some non-existent sanctuary.

Run!
Meanwhile…