Sunday, January 21, 2007

How A Visit to the Mall of Your Youth May or May Not Result in Blogger's Block

I think my blog and I must have had a terrible fight. I can think of no other plausible reason why every time I intend to post, I end up smirking at my computer screen and doing something else instead. It's like an electric fence has been raised around my formerly quite comfy nest, and when I approach....kazaaaamawacawaca electrocution! This might also account for my recent string of bad hair days, but that's another (uninteresting) post altogether.

This mysterious blogger's block began last week, actually, after a trip with the kids and my parents to the new Daiso store located a stone's throw from Serramonte Mall. Think of Daiso as the lovechild of...let's say...Target and Ichiban Kan. And the lovechild is super cute. The lovechild is wearing a sundress embroidered with scratch 'n' sniff strawberries and has the most lovely black braids and an alluring smile. But beware the lovechild! Because even though everything the lovechild sells is only $1, you will leave the lovechild having spent enough for a fairly decent dinner for two.

But enough about the Daiso lovechild. The problem wasn't really the lovechild. The problem came afterwards when my parents insisted that we eat inside Serramonte Mall. I begged them to reconsider, but they—particularly my insane father—are relentless when it comes to this type of thing. The more I begged the more he tormented me. How did he torment me, you ask? The same way he has tormented me my entire life: by performing a crazy little quick-foot shuffling dance, sticking out his tongue, and placing his thumb on his nose with the rest of his fingers splayed and wriggling. He is insufferable, my father. The dance was meant to convey that I was acting like the very worst kind of snoot. You're too good for Serramonte Mall? he asked without asking. You are Serramonte Mall.

Okay, maybe that is too dramatic, and maybe this only makes sense to those of us who came of age in Daly City (hi Kuya!), in the early 80s, but walking into that mall after a 20-year absence was like being thrown into a wayback machine. We took my grandparents there all the time for lunch at the Roast House, where a side of beef used to spin slowly in the window and Lolo used to empty ten sugar packets into his iced tea. I used to buy Green River from the vending machine at Longs, pirogi at the deli counter of QFI, a cherry Icee and popcorn at Montgomery Wards, and a "half-n-half dipped" at Carousel. I was a stuck-up little shit who refused to enter, shop, exit, or sit anywhere near the Mervyn's end of the mall.

When I was a little older, I'd take the bus all the way from Westlake and spend the afternoon sitting on one of the concrete benches around the central fountain with my friends. Security guards yelled at us for loitering and, when met with our sulky stares, demanded to know our last names so that they could then mock the ones that sounded "funny" to them (for the record, those were "Nabong," Abellera," and "Dizon"). We were often escorted out the doors and all the way to the bus stops. I was always indignant and a little mouthy, but we weren't—as a group—blameless. Much to my eternal fascination and horror, my friends shoplifted everything from cheap earrings to shoes. It's only now that I realize how little those kids had.

The mall is completely different now, of course, but none of the changes registered in my temporarily-stuck-in-1980 mind. Later that night, I tried to write about all this and got as far as a plagiarized title: Stranger In a Strange Land or You Can't Go Home Again.

*awkward pause*

In closing, and for no reason other than I love it, I present Al Pacino's mugshot via


Shuboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ver said...

Eeek. That's weird. The whole afternoon was jarring, especially at the end when the girls forced me to go into the pet shop (you know how much I loved that) so they could show me a two-headed turtle.

I'm going back to Daiso ASAP, though...

Benito Vergara said...

The shoplifting hasn't changed -- as someone who spent a good chunk of his weekday waking life in 1995 sitting in the food court can attest to. A couple of times I was almost run over by kids, hotfooting it from the mall cops, careening through Macy's, to an idling car at the curb. And the "lean over the display case and grab the merch while your accomplice distracted the clerk move?" Tested to great success at Serramonte.

"sjcjwmyb" -- The mutterings of a humpback whale's stomach.