What I’m Riding . . . the mall food court

Eat mor chikn.  And cows everywhere gather to protest Chik-fil-A for barn profiling them as illiterate.

Eat mor chikn. And cows everywhere gather to protest Chik-fil-A for barn profiling them as illiterate.

Whenever I get stuck with my writing, in a funk where I just don’t want to write anything, where nothing comes flowing no matter the topic, I try to change up my surroundings.  The book store almost always works, but I was in the mood for something different.  The beach is a good place for pen and paper, but my block is beyond that.  I need the writing gates to be open in order to use pen and paper.  Besides, the nearest (read: nearest acceptable) beach is almost an hour away and I didn’t get started until after three today, so my options were limited.  And since I promised myself to give the credit cards a break this year and spend as little cash as possible, that closes down the restaurant of any kind aspect that doesn’t feature grade f meat or French fries.  (I have nothing against grade f meat; on occasion I actually crave it, and my little bro and I lived on it–okay, I lived on it–during our holiday road trip.)  The mall across from Big Cat Rescue is one of my favorites and they have a food court and little tables and chairs and sofas and coffee tables situated throughout the mall, so I thought, “why not?”  Food from around the globe–Chinese, Mexican (Taco Bell is Mexican, thank you very much), Italian, Cuban, Indian, Greek, Japanese, American, Scandinavian (yes, I’m talking Haagen Dazs)–loud music, and people-watching galore, seriously, what better place to glean inspiration than a mall?  Even the Chik-fil-A cow is here.  I’m so glad I left the house today.

Being here is kind of like being at the beach, anyway, with the wet-looking, half-naked people.  And the way the food court people haggle with you like you’re on the Wildwood boardwalk.  (Excuse me, left you for a moment to Shazam  a song.  Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri.  A little sappy, but a good writing noise.  What is it with all these musical Perri/Perry’s all the sudden anyway?  Katy, Christina, The Band?  I’m going to procreate with someone with the last name Perry just to have a musical prodigy).  Anyway, back to my boardwalk food court.  You walk by to assess the shelf life of the rice, the noodles, the mac and cheese, and they’re reaching across the counter to jab you with a meat-filled toothpick.  “Free sample?”  I say no thank you and move on down the line.  This happens at the Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Creole stations, as well as Pepes Latin Café (I only named this one because I wanted to write the word Pepe.  When you write something, you say it in your head, and I also wanted to hear the word Pepe even if I’m only talking to myself).  I find this competitive selling tactic odd, considering they all seem to offer variations of the same kinds of food and appear to be owned by the same Chinese family.  It’s like, if you don’t buy from us, you’ll still buy from us.  They are very stealthy with their positioning, however.  Each place is separated by a Subway or Taco Bell or Chik-fil-A.  You can travel six stands down and there’s the same Asian woman who offered you a sample of bourbon chicken at the Magic Wok now handing you spiced pork at Pepes (I said it again).  Okay, downloaded The Last Goodbye by David Cook.  Shazam can be very distracting.  I’ll probably get somewhere else and the song will suck.  The acoustics in here are amazing.  Ooh, there’s a girl here who looks just like my friend Chippy but with long honey colored hair.   Anyway–

Kiosks are especially boardwalk.  The people on duty walk right into your path and ask you some random off the wall question, “Hey, do you want to see something that’s going to revolutionize your life?”  First, what does that mean?  I don’t know, but there’s something about the way he asks it that sends up red flags and now the feet are shuffling, my mind screaming no no no.  No life revolutions for me.  A girl asks, no, tells, me she’s got something I need my hair to experience.  I told her no thank you, my hair has been naughty lately and is on punishment.  A lady with a clip board asks my back something.  My back is not on punishment, but she is a bitch who doesn’t like being spoken to, so she keeps on walking.  And the front of me has a complex and is jealous of my back.  Once someone talks to my back, the front refuses to turn around.  Sloppy seconds aren’t her style.

Ooh, my favorite Gavin DeGraw song.  Okay, wait, where was I?  Whose idea was this again?

Did you really think I wouldn't include a pic of Pepes?  There, I said it again.  Three's the charm.

Did you really think I wouldn’t include a pic of Pepes? There, I said it again. Three’s the charm.



About whatimriding

Born and raised in Philly, I spent several years in Las Vegas, working at the House of Blues and writing about the city. I now reside in Tampa, where I continue to work on novels, scripts and short stories and tearfully await former Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier's return to the bay area.
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