Are you sick of mall reports?

I am simultaneously fascinated and repelled by office politics and business maneuvering. Normally I am contracted to work on the hospital units, assisting staff with their electronic health record software. It's what I was hired to do. For awhile I was doing software testing but then I went back to the floor. Last week, the boss of the project, who works for the hospital, pulled me into the IT office to write a test plan and generally oversee the testing of this upgrade. I've mentioned this.

This is where it gets interesting. One of my team leaders, a contractor like myself, called and asked if I could help out on the units next week since they would be short of people due to another upgrade going out this weekend. Again, that would be the job I was first hired to do, and what all but one of the other contractors are still doing. The boss of the project said no and assigned one of her in-house people to work the floor instead. Let me be clear: an in-house full time hospital IT employee, who has been there longer than me and has seniority, who presumably has more knowledge about the software we're working with, and who is certainly more networked, both among people and computers, got what I think is the short end of the stick.

Now, I like to think I'm good but I really don't think I'm that good. So, if not, then there has to be something else going on. But what? Someone who has a clue, a supposition, or a hypothesis, please comment.

The gleaming, beaten brass hammer of the sun pounded into my eyes as I left work and went to Wilkes Barre. First stop, Petsmart for some cat food. I bought the usual size. Had them cart it out on the forklift and tie it to the roof of the car. Bought one of those fountain type circulating water bowls too. Shock absorbers straining, I headed for the Wyoming Valley Mall.

The place was busy. Booths had been set up with collectibles -- coins, baseball cards, comic books -- and older men perused the coins and cards. Brokeback Numismatist.

Two 20-something fellows walked down the corridor, dressed completely in camouflage from hat to shoes, one grey and one green. Behind them were three young men wearing polo shirts and knit caps, ski goggles placed purposely askew on their heads. I have no idea what statements these people were trying to make.

Coming the other way, a rail thin cowboy, all black Stetson and Adam's Apple, walked along with an enormous woman shaped exactly like a big blond bullet.

Through the entrance came someone who could have been the real-life Murdoc from Gorillaz. Hat and all.

Another young man, with a Sears name tag and what appeared to be a tattoo of a sandwich on his right forearm, vibrated silently at a table. His right knee bounced rapidly and ceaselessly up and down. His fingers tapped out rhythms against each other and, occasionally, his hands would flail about in a slow but regular cadence. I looked for more signs of OCD or mental imbalance: hand wringing, avoiding stepping on lines or cracks, rigid patterns of one sort or another. I saw none.

Hordes of teenage girls shrieked and screamed through the food court, demonstrating clearly that this week's fashion trend in Northeast Pennsylvania was glittering, giant sequin covered purses.

A very young cop, handsome in his black uniform, wandered in the crowd, paying more attention to a small, short range walkie-talkie in his hand (which he was using to talk to his partner in the mall rather than tie up the police radio) than to his surroundings.

The shrieking teenage girl horde was joined by a hollering crowd of boys. The noise level quadrupled instantly. The handsome cop's partner, an older cop with a shaved head, gave them all the bum's rush.

As darkness fell, what I had been waiting for began to appear. The goths! Suddenly, they were everywhere. Here, a girl wearing black and white striped stockings to the knee. There a boy in an orange and black striped hoodie. Across the way, a young woman with short, unnaturally red hair, wearing a black t-shirt, shorts, and black denim fingerless gloves with swinging chains that went to her elbows. A kid wandered by, a headband with a shining metal plate tied around his forehead. Waiting in line to eat something, two fine gentlemen in widely flared jeans with many hanging straps, buckles, and pockets. The first had on a hat with Jack Skelilngton's ghoulish grin, the second a shirt with the grim skull of The Punisher. As long as it's skulls it doesn't matter. And look over there! An African-American goth wearing sunglasses and an ankle length leather coat tied tightly around his waist! A poor man's Morpheus. First I'd ever seen. The afro-goth took great pains to hug every other goth he encountered under the age of 16. It was positively creepy.

As the evening wore on the truly committed -- the Super-Goths -- apparated into view. One in tight fitting leather coat and pants, his hair dyed and coifed into immobility. An Edward Scissorhands without the scissors or the charisma. Another in a sleeveless jacket, a bilious green shirt underneath, and great stompy boots with lots of buckles. Both were skeletally thin. Heavily painted faces and pale skin abounded, and everywhere tattoos. Always the tribal custom.

Out of nowhere, rising from the emo sea, a punk! His midnight black mohawk shooting more than a foot over his head! An iconoclast, perhaps. A magnificent spectacle!

It strikes me that goths are a matriarchal society. The women lead, the men follow.

The horde of girls and the crowd of boys, separate from the golgotha of goths, had become a mob. A surging river of acne cream and angst, flowing out one door and in another, the cops swimming through it like great black sharks, looking for prey.

I followed them all, out into the cold night.
  • Current Mood: I need to get out more
Actually I love reading your mall reports.

I just moved ~25 miles away from my mall, so I don't visit nearly as often to people watch as I used to.

I get to live vicariously through you, aren't you proud?
It's natural to count this among the possibilities, but she's recently married. I probably should have crossed out the unlikely items in my post. Still, this is always a logical supposition.
Once again you're right. But I can't help but discount it, being a slug.

As I commented elsewhere, it could be as simple a thing as the boss being angry with the in-house worker and I'm benefitting. Who knows. I see conspiracy and mystery everywhere even where there is none.
I was at the mall with my daughter the other week. It could have been your mall except probably not as hip. I love to sit centre court and watch all the weirdos go by, a perfect place for people-watching. We saw a camouflage t-shirt that, if it wasn't so overpriced, I was considering getting for my daughter. It had written, hidden in amongst the greens and the khakis, the sage words YOU CAN'T SEE ME. I laughed and laaauged.
You know, the two guys I saw could easily have been performance artists (if they hadn't more likely been complete bumpkin mouth breathers), their camouflage made them stand out so completely.
i LOVE mall reports, man.

Also, i was gonna go the crush angle. Since that's been nixed, i don't know where to go next.
That's why i'm an interpreter and not a detective sergeant.

Boy, how i enjoy the mall reports.
It could be as simple a thing as me being in good graces and the in-house employee being on the outs with the boss. I see conspiracy everywhere.

I may have to go to the flea market tomorrow just for something different.
Flea markets have a quite different cast of odd characters. My sister and I went to one and found a man, at least 40 years old, dressed head-to-toe in this odd 80s get-up... sort of a marbled-gray jacket and loose pants, and he'd added a turtleneck. He was also wearing gold jewelry, and you could tell he thought he was very cool. We took a picture of him when he wasn't looking.
What makes you think that you aren't noticed? The Goths are probably writing about you in their LJ mall posts too.
Good answer. (-3

I'm imagining setting up a vampire clan or something within a public library. Clearly there must already be a lot of subspace there in order to fit all the books. And there are probably a few zombies amongst the staff to begin with, so...