Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mall Life

Late Saturday afternoon after Mabel Watson Payne's nap had ended, her parents put her in the red stroller and walked downtown to meet me at the old Emporium Building on Market Street, long since turned into a mall anchored by Bloomingdale's. It was the financial crisis of 1999 (the one before the financial crisis of 2008) that kept the vast building empty and delayed the opening of this mall by a few years, but hordes of people (including us, of course) were shopping on Saturday as if the next financial crisis were inconceivable rather than an absolute certainty. My daughter and I harvested several useful garments at Madewell (above, featuring the Pantone Color of the Year (Tangerine Tango) on every available surface) in preparation for the Watson Payne Boston/New York trip coming up next week. Mabel and her Daddy played in the open spaces under the refurbished dome (below).

After everybody reunited we had dinner at a child-friendly Italian place along the periphery of that same dome. The camera adjustments I made to compensate for the bizarre lighting (a mixture of fluorescent and incandescent and natural, as befits the space-station aesthetic inside these modern money-temples) were not very successful. Mabel ended up looking like she'd been photographed through a strawberry-colored gel. But in this case I didn't try to compensate later for locally-induced flaws, because they seemed so true to the overall otherworldly atmosphere.

Crayons and paper were provided (along with plain buttered noodles) for baby's use and enjoyment. Before, during and after eating, Mabel succeeded in keeping everybody at the table involved in the big-and-little dog-drawing project she spontaneously invented for the occasion.