An Ugly Mess

For the past week or so, I have walked past the evidence of someone’s car wreck on a busy street near us. The grass is starting to grow and hide the trail left by the car as it left the road, jumped the curb, narrowly missed an AT&T box and fence, and hit a tree stump before finally stopping.

There are still bits of debris from the car body that dot the grass.

Larger pieces from the car are visible by the tree stump where the car ended its journey.

Kitty litter is mixed with plastic car parts on the sidewalk. Was the driver coming home from the store with pet supplies for his or her cat?

I noticed something new today – a house key amidst the litter.

All of these pieces put together tell the story of someone who undoubtably had a terrible, terrible day. Just looking at the mess along the road makes me realize that it only takes one little thing – a swerve, a jerk of the arm while driving, to make you end up in a place you never expected to be.

The Dying Mall

Today I stopped in at the local mall, as my mother needed a new watch. It was the first time I had stepped foot in a mall since the beginning of the pandemic. The time was about 10:40 in the morning.

As I entered and started walking down the hall, my first impression was: where IS everyone? There was no one in sight, and I heard only the echoey sound of the music over the sound system. After a minute or so, I did spot a couple other people, but they appeared to be speed walking, not shopping.

Most of the stores were not open yet. According to signs on their windows, the majority of them did not open for business until 11:00 in the morning.

I also noticed that many stores had moved out, and their fronts were covered over with floor-to-ceiling tarps containing huge ads.

Where the play area for children had been, there was only a lone hand sanitizing station.

Then I spotted Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Aha, I thought, at last a store that is open! Stepping inside, I found it eerily quiet. Last year, there were people swarming all over the bookstore, leisurely browsing and opening books, sitting down on cushy chairs to read a bit of it before deciding whether to buy it or not. Not so today. I saw no chairs, and only one or two customers, who were carefully NOT touching the books. I sighed and left.

I did find a store that carried watches, although the entrance I tried to use was barricaded, with a sign indicating that all customers needed to enter the store on the second level. That seemed very odd to me. So I found the stairway, entered on the second floor, then was directed to the jewelry department on the first floor, via a very old elevator. The sign on the elevator stated that only one person, or members of one household, were allowed to ride the elevator at a time.

I should have expected that the mall would not look like it was a year or two ago. The mall had grown less busy over the past few years, due to online shopping, but it had been hanging in there. This pandemic may have been the last nail in the coffin of our local mall.