PART I – SHOPPING CENTRES
There’s many reasons to be disgusted by and hatefully avoid the shopping center, mall. They’re usually a design cross between modern hospital bland with mini Vegas gawdy. All subdued contrasting with glass and over-lit “goods”, mostly bad. Tawdry whorey troughs for us to fill our piggish hunger for more, more superficial sensation. The ironic cheap thrill retail therapy that keeps us economically enslaved.
Years ago I used to visit them for a living, selling green products. I remember secretly despising the zombie herds, sadly seeking ever cheaper ever crappier crap.
Yet still I loved a couple of them and today I realize why.
Like Broadbeach in the classy part of Surfers Paradise and the Arab/Greek-centric Roselands in Sydney, Australia’s first shopping centre. And now I find I love Toowong in Brisbane for the same reason. It’s about people. Being themselves together.
Sitting in a comfortable chair at the top of the escalator ramps, flat and comfortable paths sunlit enough that all customers use them.
So you see a really wide variety of interesting lovely people, in a forcibly unhurried procession where they have slowed right down to wait-state for a few minutes.
Then they arrive at the top, blink off their autopilot and look around, forced into the moment for a tic. Vulnerable, looking around where to go next, not their usual purposeful unthinking autorush. But distracted enough to not notice me watching them, their gait and expression.
In that moment I look at their eyes, trying to intuitively “read” like a psychic what their mood is, a peek into their personality. In the context of what their life is like – kinda the way us marketers sum up and pre-judge people. By their clothes and what they’re carrying, their whimsical choice of shoes, style of hair. In that particular suburb.
In that 2-3 seconds they become micro-familiar, like neighbors I know a bit, I ‘get’ them as much as any stranger could.
No matter what mood I’m in, I gradually fall in love with the human race again. I relate. People are so damn diverse yet mostly just like me, nice. All of us just surfing sensations, gently trying to attract love. Or at the very least approval. Tribal sanction so we feel we belong, are a part of something. Joining others like us that little bit by hanging out almost together, as close as possible with our current individualist society.
Like fish swimming separate but in graceful patterns together, kinship is a kind of love, too.