Fake Palm Trees

Outside the night is heavy. It’s still the summer and although it’s almost over another heat wave has come back around. I’m sweating and not even moving. Rolling up my pants to itch a bump on my ankle the Moon comes out, it’s bright yellow and almost full. Lined up and down the street are all kinds of shops. Bagel shops and coffee shops and clothing stores. There is a fast food candy bar and soda pop drenched food market and a couple of restaurants behind fake palm trees that are rooted in florescent orange and pink goldfish pebbles, and these plastic rocks are spaced out next to real oak trees. In a way this is the new downtown, the new commerce section of the city. It’s catered to young college kids and stylish intellectuals, professors and of course the hipsters who never went away as the trends changed and the old hipsters grew up and started families; Hipsters that started shopping at the mall and the gap and some store oddly enough named the banana republic. I’ve grown up too. I shop at mall stores. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, even though I don’t even understand the concept of shame. But I don’t go to the mall, it makes me nervous. Everything about the mall makes me nervous. The sliding doors, the kiosks selling all kinds of things, the smell of cheap perfume and expensive colognes. I just don’t know how to speak the language, I’m illiterate. The senior citizens walking around in circles for exercise, the mall cops looking so proud, the counterculture store, the birthday card store, the nail polish and hot tub store; all these stores piled up three stories tall causes me to be in such a hurry; these shops fill me up with some undefined kind of anxiety. Oh and don’t tell anyone: I shop at mall stores. I bought this cashmere sweater and old man blazer from these very mall stores that triggers my eyes to become unfocused as they look at so many colors, at so many people, at so many number signs and big bold lettered sale fonts. I don’t shop at the mall. It makes me nervous. I shop online, and this too is starting to make me anxious. To me, the internet is starting to feel like a shopping mall, like this block, like these fake damn palm trees that are lit up with blue Christmas lights. It’s if every day is Christmas. It’s as if every day is a shopping trip to the mall. Both digital and real are one in the same if you ask me. And even though we are now in the greatest economic downturn since the great depression, even though they are at last admitting this, even as I can barely survive running the only book store in the city, well besides the book stores that sell the books to the kids who are returning to campus; even though the news tells me we don’t have any money left to pay our debts America is still buying and buying and ripping up real trees and planting these fucking plastic palm trees.

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