Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rev Your Minivan

I live in the fashion capital of the world, yet I found myself shopping at the local mall for a wedding dress (on the day of the wedding.) I ran into two of my best friends there (Alissa and Gretch), which was delightful and also very fitting that all three of us would be racing around Macy's at 11am.

My spatial reasoning skills have gotten totally skewed - I can understand city blocks perfectly, and how to walk places and/or take the train. But let me loose in a giant mall, and I'm clueless. It feels exactly like a (team Edward) corn maze.

At one point, my mom and I lost each other and she had to tell one of the sales clerks what I look like. I can only imagine the conversation:

"Excuse me, but I can't find my daughter."

"Oh no! What does she look like?"

"She has a blond ponytail and a romper. She just woke up from a nap, and is probably playing dress up somewhere."

"How old is she?"


Lesson #31 in moving to a big city (and when visiting much smaller ones): Hold on to your spatial reasoning skills and figure out how to make sense of non cities, especially in exotic locations like suburban malls.

Giant megastores (Costo, Meijer) are basically their own cities with a totally different set up, ones in which I've forgotten how to navigate. My advice is to try to imagine the mall as a series of city grids and neighborhoods: the Panda Express and food court as Chinatown, which borders on Little Italy, the series of discount leather stores. Need to get home? Simply hop on the nearest 6 train stop, the closest mall exit where you've parked your car. (I won't even tackle how much I don't know how to drive anymore - I can only handle trying to not get lost inside the 'burbs.)

This works within store perimeters as well; I have to make mental notes of where I am, because there simply aren't any identifiers. I've become so accustomed to street intersections guiding me through the city, that when I'm in a large space with no wifi phone connection, I'm literally lost. Therefore, a few mental notes will take you a long way (as in: Cathlin, you walked in by the swimsuit collection. Remember how much you hate shopping for suits? Then remember that's where you parked.)

My mom and I did have a blissful reunion, but I wasn't allowed any dessert due to my misbehavior. Once I master mapping out mental grids, I'll be eating vegan cake by the pound.


  1. I Like that I am mentioned in your BLOG.

  2. If I had a say in Nobel Peace Prize voting, you would get my vote. Hand's down. The lack of suburban navigation skills is pandemic amongst mid-20s suburb to city transplants and claims thousands of casualties each day.. This post raises awareness on this terrible condition and I'd like to thank you personally for shedding light on it. Next up for you is an "An Inconvenient Truth"-esque documentary that I'm sure will win you and I academy awards. Yes, I intend to ride your coattails.

    Thank You.

  3. 人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

  4. Ryan, thanks for the award. I'm currently working on a 12 step program for this pandemic, so perhaps you'd like to try it out with me.

    The first step involves wearing a blindfold and being dropped off in a random spot in the suburbs, then trying to find your way "downtown." I'll call it "mystery cul de sac."

    Steps 2-12 are on the way.