This weekend I had the pristine honor of spending an hour unencumbered in the Francis Scott Key Mall, the mall of my youth. A location I had failed to spend any substantial time in for almost ten years. What wonders would await me in the land of my youth? What new feelings would infest my body? Nostalgia? Nah, just a newfound lack of comfort in malls. Generally anything I’d want there I can buy from my sofa, a safe space. Still, I would not let this ruin my hour of adventure. Here’s a breakdown of my visit:
This quick-fix hibachi/Chinese grill has everything you could hope for besides that delicious pink sauce. A hotspot for quality mall meat and fried rice (which is mostly yellow rice with three or four pieces of onion hidden within). Would recommend once, but not twice.
A lovely bodega with a kind and curteous staff, unfortunately they only wanted to sell hats and I am not a hat person. If they had sold Orange Juliuses like the Orange Julius across the way, then they would be the perfect mall shop. Would not recommend.
The best liquid substance available at this or any mall.
Once the store where I felt most at home in, now a store I have no business being in. I simply don’t get it any more, the odd combination of nerd and nihilist goth culture. I wander the shop, lost, a man who prefers colorful shirts and corduroy. Would recommend this existential crisis.
Bath & Body Works
Both Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday are over a month away, so I skipped this one.
Ah, the last remaining vestige of pure mall shops. Founded in 1947, Spencer’s Gifts is the only shop where you can watch a 4 year old gleefully shop for lava lamps six feet from an awkward teenage couple discovering the wild world of sex toys for the first time. A crossroads for fuckboy Trump Supporters and punk LGBTQ kids, Spencer’s will always be a place for morally ambiguous people watching and fake dog doo purchases.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Stand
I was served my third helping of mall food by a man who resembled a young Connor O’Malley. I had chosen to visit the smaller of two Auntie Anne stands because seemingly no one cared for the selection at the small one. I took their last pretzels and no receipt.
iReality Virtual Coaster
I don’t know where people get the idea that virtual reality is the future of entertainment, I’ve tried it at the FSK Mall and I was not impressed. For only a dollar was able to “transport” myself inside a pinball machine and be bashed around for 2 minutes of PS2 quality visuals. The ride hardly moved in sync with the video and when it did, it was far too slow. Plus, I had to cram myself in there, if virtual reality is truly meant for all ages, then these rides should be designed to house a 25 year old! It was also very difficult to become immersed in the experience with open walls on both sides of unit. How am I supposed to enjoy this virtual coaster when I can see an elderly couple judging me with my peripheral vision?
I’ve desperately needed new shoes for a while and am constantly disheartened by the cost. This shoe store was no different from the rest, but I did discover that UGGS makes a men’s shoe disguised as dress wear but secretly lined with animal fur. Worth $99? You tell me.
Mall Massage Chair
Finally, left to my own devices I was given the opportunity to take advantage of the timeless mall installment I had eyed my whole life. A three minute massage for only $1. This chair was the second best thing an actual masseuse, though I could’ve done without the surprise butt-play. Would recommend.