Friday nights were always my favorite growing up. My dad used to take me to this little pizza place and then we would rent movies and video games from the rental store with an arcade across the street. They had all sorts of arcade games, movies, rental games, snacks, a popcorn machine, it was wonderful. We would race each other in the Cruis'N World or RUSH arcades.
Friday nights felt like you had the entire world in front of you. That feeling of relief when you walk out of class or work on Friday afternoon is something I still enjoy. One of the few things I have left, really.
I still remember wandering around the video store looking for things to rent. Buying snacks, sometimes finding an old movie poster or used video game for sale. Now and then I still go to big box retail store and wander through the DVD and snack aisles and reminisce about how things were not too long ago.
When I look back they some of the best weekends of my life as a kid, they were never anything too special. Being home from school on a Friday, going to the VHS store, the pizza store, the mall, and the arcade with my dad and waiting for my mom to come home from work.
I went to the malls a lot Friday nights too. I still go frequently, however, more and more, with each passing season, I feel like more of a stranger in the place I grew up. There are days I’ve been sitting in the food court only to look around and realize I was the only White person I could see.
I’m not even that old, but I can remember when things were better and not filled to the edge with third-world invaders speaking foreign tongues, wearing incredibly alien clothing.
I walk through the cities alone now quite a lot, and know the type of childhood I had is becoming exceedingly rare. Single motherhood rates, White flight, destroyed social capital. It's all fleeing so quickly. Nearly unrecognizable. I feel great sorrow for today's children.
I'm not sure why exactly, but I have always loved malls. I’ve always enjoyed people-watching, I'm sure that’s a fairly significant contributor. I enjoy the snacks in the food-court, the music, taking in the designs and brand concepts of many different stores all in one place. Although I still enjoy the mall and frequent them often, there has been a noticeable shift over the years. This ever-present gnawing feeling that something is off and perhaps slipping away.
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