They’re tearing down Springfield Mall.
I should back up. Springfield Mall is this place here in Virginia that was at one time the state of the art, up and coming mall that was consistently packed on the weekends, especially during the Christmas shopping season. Slowly over the years it became “that mall.” You know the one. It’s in every down. It’s big, but about half the stores are closed and the ones that are open don’t really have the “right” things in them. The food court has all the restaurants you like but they don’t really taste the same. Just walking in you get the feeling that everything is wrong. Not just the stores themselves, but you have a feeling of deep despair and dread, like you’ll never know happiness ever again until you mercifully step outside and rejoice in the fact that you no longer have to sit in that mall. It had become that kind of place.
Anyone who has visited the mall in the past few years is probably saying, “Cool. It’s about damn time they got rid of that ghost town.” Of course I have to admit that if I was going off just the past couple of years I’d have to say, “good, it’s about time.”
The problem is, it hasn’t always been that way. That’s true of just about everything, things are built and designed to be cool, and then they end up wearing out their welcome, much like the Platypus. (Despite the attempt of Phineas and Ferb to make them cool again.) But in this case, I mean it really hasn’t always been that way.
I remember growing with the Springfield Mall. I can remember they used to have this one store in there called “Another Universe” which was this really cool comic book store. I can remember my dad coming home with a stack full of comics and some Star Trek cards every week. I can remember standing in line with a hurt leg to watch the Star Wars re-releases. (I did grow into my nerdhood there.) I remember Christmas shopping, I remember this was really the place to just hang out.
As I admitted before, yes, has really gone downhill over the past couple of years. I’m talking about a place that really hasn’t existed in a couple of years. We all have a place like that. It’s not really a place per se, it’s a feeling. A feeling of a childhood (or teenagehood) past.
I guess that’s why I used to enjoy walking through Springfield Mall even after it became that kind of mall. I know it was barely safe at the time that someone said, “Hey, this isn’t working let’s go ahead and turn it into something that’s the exact opposite of what it is now!” I’d even get made fun of for daring to insist that it was, at one time, a place I wanted to be. But it wasn’t the place, it’s a feeling.
So, I’m raising a Bad Shakespeare glass... or something? To the Springfield Mall. Not to the mall itself, no, this is a mercy killing. To the feeling. To that feeling of the past that I know I’ll never be able to recapture. Yes, it’s important to remember that I will never recapture that feeling. I will, however have to create new feelings, a new place to return to.
Of course, there will always be a place in my heart for whatever that place is going to become.