Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's not The Mall, it's just a mall

Most of the time, I really like where I live, generally speaking. I mean, I'd like a bigger apartment, and I'd like to own it rather than rent, but it's a pretty nice place, my commute is reasonable, and it's convenient to just about everything -- especially the mall.

Sometimes, however, the mall is more trouble than it's worth. And no, I'm not talking about Christmas -- because around Christmas, people are generally on a mission, and, as a result, move through the mall with some kind of logic and purpose. Nope. The real problem is this time of year, from about mid-March to mid-April where the mall is filled to capacity with teens (and pre-teens) on various school trips.

In the mall, teenagers mostly just hang out and talk and giggle. And they pay absolutely no attention to their surroundings, which often includes commuters trying to get around them in order to get home. So, every day, I have to carefully navigate my way through a bunch of kids in matching t-shirts standing in clusters between the escalator and either the video game store or the candy store.

I want to push them out of my way, but, sadly, most of them are bigger than me.

Today, I came to a realization, though: I should cut the kids some slack. I was probably just as annoying as a teenager, and I know with certainty that I spent a lot of my leisure time in malls. (Okay, most. Whatever.)

More importantly, the annoying blocking traffic thing? It's not really the kids' fault.

See, in the midst of being caught in a larger than usual traffic jam right in front of the escalator, I concluded that the blame really lies with the chaperones -- the adults that, under the guise of being responsible, let a large group of teenagers loose on the mall with instructions to meet back at a certain place and certain time. Generally, that place is either right in front of the escalator that leads to Metro or right by the front entrance.

Time after time, these adults do this without ever entertaining the notion that their large group might wind up impeding traffic. And once their group is assembled, the adults generally don't notice -- or don't care -- that they're in the way. And, in the very unusual circumstance when they do become aware that they're blocking the way, they don't/can't/won't do anything to fix the situation -- like perhaps moving their group closer to one side or the other.

These are the people that you send your kids on field trips with, America. They're not even smart enough to get out of the way.


gunn said...

A small thing but THE most annoying thing about people in public places, most especially woman. My biggest, most frustrating, angering thing ever.
IE; Woman enters store doorway or gets off escalator......
stops immediately, thereby causing everyone behind her to try to avoid crashing into her, the escalator is the worst.
Once I became so frustrated I kicked the heel of the woman in front of me who was standing at the top of the escalator, apparently looking around blissfully, broke her heel off cleanly, leaving her crying and angry. It was a prick thing to do but I felt like a million bucks afterward.
Thank you, I'm done now, sorry.

violindan said...

Wow. Back to the mall, I was just thinking yesterday abuot how annoyingly crowded that walk was ... but you make a good point about the chaperones. Also not helping on my walk: the person in the rabbit costume, causing the few people who actually were moving to stop and dispense wisdom along the lines of, "Look! A rabbit!"

dara said...

Gunn: Yeah, those people annoy me too -- not just in the mall, but in airports, train stations, etc. I think there should be some basic human behavior training that enforces the idea that people should keep moving until they are either out of the way or have nowhere else to go.

But, then again, I don't think violence is the answer either.

Dan: There's always something distracting the people. A guy in a bunny costume is understandable.

Earlier this week, I was stuck behind a bunch of teenage girls gawking at how nice the mall's roof is while STARING AT THE CEILING. I actually heard one say, "They don't have malls like this where we live." I seriously wanted to take her and shake her and say, "This is a shopping mall, sweetie. Who cares what it looks like -- you can buy the same exact things wherever you happen to be. Go gawk at the architecture of one of the memorials -- at least your parents will be getting their money's worth."

Justin S. said...

In that particular mall, it's a design problem too. Why put the video game store and the candy store right on the path where people need to get home? Well, I suppose the answer is they sell more video games and candy that way. But still.

Ryane said...

HAHA. yeah, i've seen that same group of teens and chaperons on the sidewalk, and benches, and pavement, and grass and every place-in-between, in front of the zoo.

My personal belief is that none of these kids knows how to walk alone, hence the reason they cling together that way, but I could be wrong. ;-)

dara said...

Justin: Valid point. But even if those attractive nuisances were somewhere else, the kids would still wind up in the way because the meeting placess are always right in front of ingress and egress points.

Ryane: I didn't like to walk alone when I was a teen either. We were all lemmings, once.