Friday, September 23, 2011

Second Thursday at the Mall

Another Thursday at the Valencia Town Center Mall, motivated yet again by Dad having to be at a school, though not his own this time. This time it was at Valencia High for a BPA (Business Professionals of America) meeting that included the students he oversaw as a substitute teacher on Tuesday at Valencia, after his day was done at La Mesa, in a business education ROP (Regional Occupational Program) course.

Mom wanted to go somewhere during the time he was at Valencia High, from 5-7 p.m., and immediately thought of the mall again, most of all for Meridith and I to get tickets for The Lion King 3D (for me) and Dolphin Tale 3D (for her), so that way we wouldn't have to get any on Saturday, in case it was sold out. But 2:35 and 2:50, respectively, in the afternoon? I doubt it. Nevertheless, it's always useful to get them ahead of time, to just walk right in.

No Souplantation this time, and for good reason, since it was $40 for Mom, Meridith and I that time, though it was good. But it also didn't feel like the right time for it again. We walked on past after getting the tickets, toward the mall, and then headed for the food court. Mom wanted to try the veggie dog from Hot Dog on a Stick, just like last time; Meridith decided on the Japanese place next to Hot Dog on a Stick, and I decided on a quesadilla from Cabo Cabana Fresh Baja Grill.

It was a decent, large chicken quesadilla, as would be expected for $7.99, but a quesadilla at least in this part of the valley, is just a quesadilla. It's impossible to find a QUESADILLA in Valencia, one that bursts with great flavor. I was just glad to have a chicken quesadilla again, and really, at the mall here, the food court just does as advertised. Nothing more, nothing less. You'll find mediterranean food, and pizza, and grilled subs, but you just eat and move on to whatever else you need at the mall.

After the food court, we stopped at a key duplication vending machine across from a display window at Forever 21, and while Meridith looked at the key colors available, I marveled at the window of the view inside the machine. Someone came up with this design, someone (or a team, perhaps) created the mechanisms by which this machine operates. I wondered who those people were, how often they create such machines, if there's a steady opportunity to come up with new ones for new business ventures.

It was like the painting of food I saw above the old Arby's stand in the food court. It's what's put up when any space there is unoccupied. And I'm curious enough to e-mail whoever's in charge of the mall to see if they know who did it, if that person has any more paintings. I just want to know who that anomymous artwork belongs to.

It's the same thing with corporate architecture. Who designs the malls? Who builds them? Do they go from mall site to mall site throughout the country? When they're watching TV at night, do they mull over designs in their heads, like how big store space should be, if the mall anchors such as Sears have enough space? These are the things that go through my head at any mall, really. Unless there's a bookstore, or a library branch like the Henderson Galleria has. Mom also told me that they have books for sale out front. Then I'm not thinking of questions like those, but rather hoping for some decent finds, and I can't wait to devour that when I'm there.

At Puzzle Zoo, which stocks dolls and toys and model planes and Star Wars figurines, the guy behind the counter noticed my Beavis & Butthead t-shirt and led me to two boxes toward the back that had Beavis & Butthead bobbleheads in them, newly arrived, timed to the new episodes in October. They were talking bobbleheads and there was one of Cornholio. It's nice to see an important part of the '90s return, and as a fan, I was happy to see new merchandise. Not sure I'd get a bobblehead, but I'd buy figurines of them.

Then we decided to go to Menchie's, which has self-serve frozen yogurt and plenty of toppings, and Dad walked in not even five minutes after we started sampling the different frozen yogurts available, and so we had our concoctions together, mine with chocolate-covered banana frozen yogurt, almond bits, strawberries, bananas, cookie dough bites, cheesecake bites, Heath Bar pieces, and Reese's Cup pieces.

It was yet another peaceful evening at the mall, one of the few places in this valley that can provide the same reliable experience every time, though I suspect only like this on Thursdays. Chances are it'll be a long time before we go to the mall again, if we even go to this mall depending on if the opportunity comes to move soon. But I like that I'll always have those questions in mind as I look around any mall. I always wonder.