RIP: Century III

Every couple of weeks I head to Century III Mall while my lady gets her nails and toes done. I always go to the food court to hang out and write. Today, I was struck by the emptiness. Perhaps it had something to do with the aches and pains I’ve been feeling as another birthday approaches. Nostalgia is a good thing when you’re young remembering Christmases, concerts, and crazy things you did just out of high school. Nostalgia as you get older sucks. Friends you hung out with have moved, lost touch, or died. Events of the past, in some cases, seems like they happened to someone else, or you might have seen them in a movie.

Back in my younger days I’d sit in the food court for hours, observing the people, and happenings throughout the day. Some of my best comedy bits came from the research accomplished over a piece of pizza, a burger, a gyro, or maybe some Chinese, and a large Pepsi. Now the only activity is the occasional bird flying by, or the Silver Sneakers Club shuffling through the mall.

The question isn’t, “Where’d the time go?” It’s, “Where did we go?” I mean really, we may have a few aches and pains, a few scars from life, but basically, we are the same youthful folks we were decades ago. Do we act our age, because that’s what is expected? Do we rein our younger side in so society doesn’t think we’re a “crazy old coot,” or have we just surrendered to the battle that is life?

As I sit here I can remember all the various food choices, families, couples, buddies, and the lonely dude with the note pad and pen. If you worked in the mall you would eat lunch or dinner, then head to Wolfie’s or the Oyster House for drinks and laughs. None of that exists anymore. The mall is easily 90% empty, and fading fast. It’s funny, the mall, just like us looks a little worn on the outside, but for the most part is structurally sound; and when you think about it is still pretty impressive.

Time marches on, and in time, I expect to see tumbleweeds rolling through this place, and eventually my visits to the once fertile mind field will end. It will be a sad day, but I’ll still smile as I rock on my porch watching my fish in the pond as I remember my days at Century III Mall with Mark, Ken, Daryl, Evelyn, Lucene, Dean, Joe, Darlene, Walter, Brenda. Robbie, Dave, and Fast Eddie…

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

Paul Simon