“We’re riding on the escalator of life,
We’re shopping in the human mall,
We’re dancing on the escalator of life,
Won’t be happy ‘til we have it all,
We want it all!”
Escalator of Life (Lyrics by Robert Hazard)One can peer into the empty, hollow hallways in numerous haunting pictures of these retail graveyards. The cavernous, rectangular spaces may often still carry the outlines (“label scars”) of signage that initially graced the once-gleaming, now-dull storefronts. Escalators that carried thousands of shoppers between floors now sit idle like metal dinosaurs of a bygone era. Skylights often lend an eerie glow to these massive indoor markets. One can almost see bustling shoppers smiling at one another as they carry their newly purchased possessions.
A “dead mall” is a shopping mall with a high vacancy rate or a low occupancy traffic level. Or it is dated or deteriorating in some manner (Wikipedia).
The dead and disabled malls are becoming more and more commonplace. I can’t pretend that I’m not fascinated by them. Apparently, others are intrigued as well. The Internet is replete with thousands of photos from these now decaying indoor expanses. There’s just something about the stories these dead malls seem to tell that grabs my attention and holds it.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Being a child of the ‘70s, I’ve spent countless hours roaming shopping malls while growing up. Perhaps I’m still clinging to memories that seem so vivid to me, but I feel as if I could reach out and touch the handrails of the escalators in those pictures. Whatever the reason, dead malls never fail to hold my curiosity.
“Utterly pointless,” says the Teacher. “Absolutely pointless; everything is pointless. What does a man gain from all the work that he undertakes on earth’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, ISV)?
As I view the portraits of these vacant spaces, I realize that material things of this life are here today and gone tomorrow. It’s all been done, and though we might attempt to believe that some new possession can bring us happiness, someday, it will fade away.
Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.