Yesterday marked the first of three days worth of craft show at the Bonner Mall. Once again, my mindset is prepared not to strike it rich. Our local mall has earned many nicknames during its lifetime, but the one which best characterizes it is "the Bonner Morgue." Nonetheless, every year, Mother signs us up for the Christmas-craft show because there's always hope.
There's been relatively unsatisfied hope for the Bonner Mall ever since it was first built in Ponderay (north of Sandpoint) in the 1980s. That hope has flickered often over its lifetime, thanks to those endless days when the place feels like the dead zone rather than a thriving center of commerce, fun eating places and frenzied shoppers. Yesterday we couldn't even buy a cup of coffee at the mall until the owner of Hot Diggity Dog, who also sells models, put out his single coffee pump well after 10 a.m.
Thank goodness, we go there more for the Christmas-time visiting than for making money. Mother sold three cards yesterday, I sold two books and Laurie, one refrigerator magnet. We have two more days to strike it rich, so we'll return this morning and tomorrow at noon, filled with anticipation that Santa Claus or local entertainers will draw a few more people to the mall's interior.
The place does attract people on a mission to shop at a specific store. The big draws seem to be J.C. Penneys, Sayers Jewelers, Sears, Meyer's Sport Tees, the Hallmark shop----and the liquor store.
Now that's an added perk to sitting at your overstocked craft table in the main aisle for hours on end. Our table is located on a straight shot to Jim Beam, so we see some interesting sights as we eye the dispensory patrons, who can usually sneak in for their bottle(s) and don't have to worry about anyone seeing them make their needed purchase cuz the mall's normally pretty dead.
But, when that main walkway suddenly fills with a bunch of idle folks sitting at tables, so bored that serious people-watching turns into an obsession, it's not too much fun for the folks who feel themselves on display while maneuvering their way to that dispensory door. All they want is to pick up their usual booze and sneak out of the mall, sight unseen, with those spirits hidden in a brown sack and snuggled up against their chests.
We saw several folks on their whiskey missions yesterday. The one I liked the best, however, was the lady who established eye contact with me for just a fragment of a second and quickly looked the opposite direction toward the Silver Lady's temporary store across the aisle from us. I knew this lady, and she knew me. She's never been the friendliest of sorts, even though I've always been nice to her and was just getting ready to flash her a smile before she so instantly rejected my glance.
That rejection signaled a desire within my curious brain to watch her strut on down the aisle way. Sure enough, she took a left turn and moved on into the the liquor store. Five minutes later, she left the store with bottle in arm. Now that's pretty mundane, but when you add a set of sunglasses to what was a bare face when she first came in, that does cause some head scratching. It's just not that bright in the mall.
As she continued toward the door, not looking to the left or the right, I kept wondering why she needed her sunglasses. Nobody really cares if she buys her liquor, and I know she's old enough. I still haven't figured it out. Maybe I can ask my friend Alice, who works at the liquor store on Saturdays. Maybe there's something in the florescent light inside the store---- or those bottles---that blinds people to reality. I just don't know.
Today, however, with the weekend ahead, there's sure to be another parade of needy souls headed that direction and wishing all of us, with our watching and wandering eyes, were somewhere else. If they'd just stop at our table and buy something, we could all leave the mall happier than when we entered it.