Monday, May 19, 2008

The Mall

Well, I learned of a new place this past week. It's not really new, but I call it new for me as I never really noticed it before and had never been there before. It is the Oak Hurst shopping mall on Poplar Ave out in east Memphis. Now, I had driven by it before many times on my way to Home Depot or Target or whatever out there so I had seen the sign, however it is rather hidden away so really, I had no idea what was in there. How I ended up going there, was all because of Jimbo. He had to buy a new pair of shoes and he knew about this mall and said he wanted to go there since they would have Chuck Taylor's.

As we pulled into the mall, I had some weird flashbacks, which continued even as we entered the mall from the Dillard's department store. See, growing up in SF area, we had quite a few malls. One in particular which was a definite hot spot through out pre-teen and teen years not to mention the times I was brought there with mom on her missions, was a place called Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo. They had a movie theater there too and a TGI Fridays, which actually used to be a cool place to eat. I had a B-day lunch there for my 15th. Anyhow, Hillsdale had a store called Nordstrom, where I had a summer job in 1989. That summer was a hot one, with Batman being the big movie at the mall, and the music would replay over and over. The big songs were Elvis Costello's "Veronica", Prince's "Batman" song, Paula Abdul, Bobbie Brown, etc. So these songs would play over and over in our department (Brass Plum) and we would be running around for about 8-9 hours. I remember the smells and the sound of the continually running escalator even when the store was closed. We had a big sale that summer, so a couple times we had to stay late to stock and re-tag everything. My mind keeps flashing to the upper parking deck, as that was where I usually parked. I recall the way the sun would shine on my face and head in the morning and how it would glimmer through the trees when I left. There was a little coffee bar on the first floor that I would always get a vanilla almond latte at. They had a big make up counter down there too, and I loved buying when there was a gift-with-purchase, usually with Lancome of Estee Lauder or sometimes Clinique. It was especially rewarding when that summer, I could use my store discount. Later, I also had a Nordstrom store credit card (one of my first credit cards).;

The Hillsdale mall was at that time, and I'm sure many of you can relate, not only a place of work, but a place to hang out with friends outside of school. I suppose that was just the culture then, at least for us in SF Bay Area. And if it wasn't that mall, it was the Stanford Mall (oh yeah, been there a lot too) in Palo Alto.

So on this day at the Oak Hust Mall in Memphis, I was reminded of that time. The last time I set foot in a mall like that was 8-10 years ago. A strangle thing happened to me along the way, I think I became allergic to it, because this time, not only was I overwhelmed in there, but I became really tired (something to do with the smell) and distracted. Maybe it was all the abstract memories hat came back to me too after so long, things, people and places I had not thought about in ages. Belinda Carlisle song "I Get Weak" was playing, so the stage was set. I was overcome with the need to buy some Lancome and get my gift-with-purchase and then I started looking for the coffee bar. Thankfully, I was not alone and left to my own devices! Jimbo got his shoes and we managed to get out of there before too long. I am not planning on going back, but I can say that I have had some unusual memories and dreams all week...

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Three Olgas

So this little story happened quite some years ago...I am going to say maybe even 10 years ago (s*** I am getting old!) and it is a true tale.

One day, I was sitting in the doctors office waiting for my appointment for a physical, which I usually do once a year. To no surprise, I was waiting a while and my designated appointment time came and went. In the waiting room sat two other women; one was hispanic maybe in her 40's and the other was a white eastern-european type in her late 60's. We were all reading and waiting on this day.

At last the exam room door opened and the nurse popped out, and knowing that she was behind schedule, she hurriedly looked at the name on the folder she carried and called, "Olga?". I, having grown up as "Olga", and as the only "Olga" ever at school, after school, sports, work, friends and whatever else you do in daily life, stood up and dropped my magazine on the coffee table. Alas, to my astonishment, the other two women stood up as well, thinking they were the "Olga" that was being called! We all looked at each other so astounded and curious with a "is your name Olga too?" look in our eyes, that even the nurse was taken aback. The nurse regained composure and looked down at the folder again, "Garcia, Olga Garcia". At that, I and the remaining other Olga, sat back down in our chairs half smiling half amazed.

"Wow," I said to Olga, "that was weird. I have never met so many Olgas before."

"Yes, " laughed Olga, "that has never happened to me either."

And so it went.