I love malls and can spend hours just window shopping and people watching without spending a penny. And that's got nothing to do with the state of my bladder by the way.
The adventurously named Lakeshore Mall in Sebring has all the usual stores from Bath & Body Works to Zales Jewelers with a food court thrown in for good measure. A few weeks ago when waiting for Deb to complete her early morning visit with the dentist (also in the mall), I got bored and joined in with a few mall walkers, completing a circuit of the building in 20 minutes.
So it's no Mall of America but if you want to look at a few cars, one boat and find calendars full of cute cats, Michigan lighthouses or John Deere tractors, the mall is your place. I have to admit to checking out the 2010 September tractor and she's a beaut. Grace, elegance and enough pulling power to worry a rugby front row. Hubba hubba.
But it was 8pm and this is Sebring so the mall was almost deserted. Sebring is like a ghost town after 8pm. Restaurants are starting to close or have already closed. Police officers are dozing in their twinkie strewn patrol cars. The lone member of staff in the 24hr Wendys drive thru is having a french fry fight with himself and even the bikers have left the bars and revved off into the night. This is a retirement town and most people are either preparing for bed or are in bed soon after 8pm.
I mean it's 11pm now and for the last 2 hrs I've been the only person still awake in this zipcode.
But back to the mall. I was going into a store and stopped by a poster that was right in front of the entrance. It said that after 6pm on a Friday and Saturday, anyone under the age of 18 in the mall had to be accompanied by an adult. The only exception was if this under age person was going to or from the mall movie theatre and in that case, they had to use the special theatre entrance/exit.
Any young looking unaccompanied mall visitor must be prepared to show evidence of their age if stopped by a security guard and if under 18, would be told to leave the mall. If they refused, they would be charged with trespassing.
Sadly in this day and age, I'm sure this 'law' is very necessary for the comfort and safety of everyone...everyone in a large city mall. But come on people. This is Sebring where the average age is 102. I doubt that anyone under the age of 18 even lives in Sebring, never mind would want to go alone to the mall. Remember this is the town where I'm always offered the senior discount even though I'm 57. The staff just assume everyone is a senior and we go along with it for a cheap burger and free drink.
I don't know if we have such mall rules in England. Even with our hoodie, yob culture I'm not sure our malls are overrun with hooligans on Fri/Sat evenings - I'm not sure because I'm usually in my jim-jams getting ready for bed of course but also because the hooligans are stoned out of their minds in our town centres with binge drinking and couldn't get through a mall door if they tried.
Then the date on this poster caught my attention. The under age rule was introduced on September 11th.
So now when someone under 18 in Sebring (if one can be traced) is asked what catastrophe happened on 9/11, the answer might not be what you'd expect to hear !!
Anyway it's 11:15pm and I'd better get to bed. All those free drinks have played havoc with my bladder and now I really DO have to spend a penny.
Say, good night Gracie.