Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Overcome with a strong case of cabin fever, and with what looked to be only about a 60 percent chance of rain, I packed up my bologna sandwich, Fritos and netbook, and headed for the 16th Street Mall. The entire length of 16th Street is closed to traffic, with the exception of mall buses, to provide a day-long trek of uninterrupted shopping, dining, and people watching. Tourists wander the mall daily, and combined with business people, shoppers, wanderers and people like me, the street is always packed.
My mall sparring skills are improving nicely. I can zig and zag in and out of throngs of people, and when faced with a large oncoming crowd, like everyone else, I just plow through them. At first I tried to be polite and anticipate where everyone else was walking, or heading, and adjust my pace/direction accordingly. I didn’t get anywhere very fast, and was often left standing in nearly the same spot I had started from. Not now. I pass, I plow, and take no prisoners.
Today was exceptionally busy on the mall, probably because it was the first good weather we’ve had in a week. The tourists were out in force, clutching their street maps and stopping at every street corner to orient themselves. The street performers were out as well, either playing the stationery pianos that are planted in the plaza areas that line the street, or strumming their guitars and belting out tunes along the storefronts.
Business men and women charged down the mall, their slacks flapping in the wind as they hurried to get their coffee, latte or lunch. Every street corner is filled with competing sandwich-signers, each holding or wearing a sign representing a business. They shake their signs, or yell encouragement to visit their establishment. One of the corners has so many sign-shakers that they actually bump into each other with their signs.
But my favorite sign-shaker is an elderly gentleman promoting a health food store. His sandwich board is one of the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, although perhaps a little demeaning. His bottom half is the shape of a grocery bag, overflowing with food. Lettuce leaves form his collar, and his head is topped with something that resembles a bagel. His presence on the corner makes the other sign shakers around him look dull, although I’m pretty sure from the look on his face that he doesn’t really love his job.
And then there’s Satan. That’s definitely a politically incorrect and probably very judgmental thought, but I can’t help it. He’s over six feet tall, thin as a rail, and his face is gaunt and haunting. He’s covered in black from head to toe, including cowboy boots with red tips. His ensemble is topped with an ankle-length black leather trench coat, which is covered in red and orange flames. There’s something about the way he moves, slinking would be the best word I could think of, that makes the hair on my arms stand up. I’ve seen him around a couple of times, but I make it a point to cross the street before I run into him.

May 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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