Wherein I, Zac Crain, Go to an Extremely Crowded NorthPark Center

On Saturday afternoon, my son and I ventured forth to NorthPark to take in Step Up 3D. He loves dance movies (as do I) and really loves 3D movies (as do — actually, I’m not a big fan). Plus, it was roughly the same temperature as lava outside, and I would have gone to see Steve Blow do a stand-up comedy set — of all-new material! — if it meant avoiding playing soccer outside with my kid. So it was the perfect storm. It could have gone better.

First, we were not the only two people looking to score some free A/C on a hot, hot Saturday. NorthPark hasn’t gotten back to me with an actual headcount, but by my eyes, I would say there were around 500,000 people there when we arrived at 4:20 p.m. Give or take. It was like the last-minute Christmas shopping crowd had a baby with the Black Friday gang. And no one appeared to have a shopping agenda, so they were doing little more than milling around like cows out to pasture. (I won’t even get into the parking lot situation. I felt like I was driving a cab in Vietnam.)

Now, I’ll admit I tried to squeeze in too much in too short a time. I should have left the house earlier. I should have bought a car without leather seats so I’d be motivated to leave the house earlier. I should have put down roots in a city that God has not cast aside. I’m just a man, doing the best that he can. Anyway, so trying to get a bite to eat, buy movie tickets, and make it to the theater in that amount of time was, yes, foolish in retrospect.

That said: if my thoughts were weapons — and in several Baltic states, they are; story for another time — I’d currently be awaiting arraignment on around 30 counts of mind murder. (I’d probably plead insanity because I, like David Lee Roth, was crazy from the heat.) (Second parenthetical: Minority Report 2 plot?) Fortunately, all the kids whose parents dropped them off at the mall without teaching them that they can pool their money and order together (Come on — you are all only getting sodas! That’s inefficient!) all live to annoy another day. And the food court manager who decided to do a register change during what could only be termed a late lunch/early dinner rush is still able to underachieve for the time being. And the people who walk backwards while carrying on conversations then give you the stink-eye if you so much as graze them because you walk like a normal person who is cognizant and sensitive to the world around him — well, they’ll keep doing that, I guess.

What I guess I’m getting at is this: it is now time to add summer Saturdays to the list of times you absolutely don’t want to go to a mall. Because after, you’ll end up sounding like a cranky old grump, when all you wanted to do is see some sweet, sweet street-dancing action and maybe hear a few melodramatic speeches. It’s probably playing somewhere else. Go there. It’s too late for me.

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