The Hooligans needed sneakers. What else is new? They outgrow/thrash their sneakers with frightening and expensive regularity. Skateboarding is very hard on shoes. I thought living right in town would be more economical, transportation-wise. Their schools are so close it's quicker to walk than to drive, ditto music lessons, sports practice, and the local junk-food emporium. However they ride their skateboards everywhere they go, which literally burns a lot of rubber.
So, new sneakers: they wanted converse. I like that. They're classic and not prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, the only store with a good selection was at the mall.
How I loathe the mall. I like shopping (very much), but not at malls. I like thrift stores. I like little boutiques. I like flea markets and garage sales and estate sales. I can even handle the occasional big box expedition, but malls. Ugh.
Especially our mall, which is one of those grim seventies models where everything is enclosed and painted sort of a sickly yellowish grey. Old ladies bustle around for exercise. Young mothers scream at screaming toddlers. The sales people at the kiosks in the center come at you aggressively with various unguents and products. I have been chased by a guy selling dead sea face cream. Do I look that wrinkly? It's an exceptionally bad mall.
But there is a cool shoe emporium staffed by young women in tight t shirts that hint at their fascinating tattoos. I made eye contact with one while my sons were perusing the converse selection. "They need shoes," I told her, sotto voce, "And I'm hoping they won't select the neon colored ones--ideally grey or navy? Anything you can do to guide them in that direction…"
"I hear you, mom," she said," leave it to me." I sat down and checked my email, affecting disinterest and she sidled up casually behind the hooligans, slinging her arms around their shoulders, "Looking for converse, huh?" she asked. "Awesome. Converse are so legit. They grey ones are super popular. Want me to see if I've got some in your sizes?"
Slack-jawed, both hooligans nodded dumbly. We left with two pairs of grey converse high tops, plus some extra shoelaces in neon orange--in case the neon mood strikes. I have newfound appreciation for the mall, and for double agent sales girls.
Now I need these girls to appear, casually you understand, in my house. "Oh hey," they might say, "Were you going to practice cello? That is SO awesome. Can I just listen if I'm really quiet? I wish all guys played cello. It's so cool."
Or they might wander upstairs, "S'up? Your mom wants you to clean your room? I do not get what the big deal about cleaning is, but hey, I'll help you out and it will keep her off your back, you know?"