Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riverchase Gonorrhea

Pardon my affectionate name for our state's biggest mall; I gave it that nickname long ago and for some reason it stuck. Geez, has that really been 20 years ago??It had been awhile since I darkened the door of the Galleria, and I knew full well that Alabama's High Temple of Consumption would be in full swing 13 days before Christmas. Ordinarily, I would consider me willingly visiting the place to be a hint that needed my head checked. But I remembered loving a taste of holiday hustle and bustle when I was a kid, and thought Griffin and Carlie might like to see it. I was right.We didn't use "flyover" express exit lane that was added several years ago, and judging from traffic conditions, it would not have mattered much if we had. We entered from U.S. Highway 31, passing two conspicuously vacant buildings among the mall's outparcels and the Wynfrey Hotel. One of the main mall's anchor stores was vacant, too, and for some reason, the much-needed parking area in front of its entrance was ROPED OFF. We drove past that, and past more roped-off parking (valet area that time) and the hunt for a space began. Once parked, the walk was not bad, though I did carry Carlie to minimize my effort of keeping track of kids.We got in and walked, and walked, and walked. The mall was pretty much the way I remembered it, minus the arcade and a few very esoteric stores, replaced with stores that appeared to offer equally useless stuff as the ones that were gone. I was perturbed to find that the space that used to be nothing but bathrooms was also gone, but we went into Belk's to take care that business.Overall the whole mingling-in-a-crowd thing was not bad, actually enjoyable at times, to my surprise. The only sore spot was the food court, where the number of diners far, far, exceeded the amount of seating. We ate our Chik-Fil-A sitting on the floor like many others.The kids loved playing at the few toy stores the mall has, riding the glass elevator and the escalators--every time! At Radio Shack, of all places, I got them a little something that the like playing with to take home, which coincided with them asking, is it time to go yet? And with that, we were out of there.