Location, location, location...
Dave sits on a bench at the mall near his house, and watches people wander by, unimpressed with their questionable path-finding AI. As usual, the largest groups of meandering mall-haunters are: Overly-preened Teens; the Grey-haired Brigade; and a label-less group comprised of "well-dressed women over 40 on their way to or from Nordstrom's." They all have their unique set of quirks, yet none of the members of these major groups of mall-striders (or even most of the other subgroups) bother Dave much anymore. He has finally achieved an age where he realizes that people are just people.
There remains, however, a sub-group that still causes an eyebrow to arch on Dave's forehead; namely, those who have decided, for whatever reason, to insert discs or hoops into various parts of their face, to create unsightly, gaping holes in their flesh. Usually the loops are wedged into the ear lobes, but occasionally the feature of choice is the nose, or even the cheek or lower lip. Large collections of "regular" earrings don't phase Dave anymore. Neither does seeing people covered in tattoos. But the bizarre facial hoops are still a mystery to him. Not being a dentist, seeing someone's lower gumline is disconcerting to Dave. And adding additional nostrils to one's face is pure confusion - what message could possibly be conveyed by such an act of exhibition?
Dave shrugs it off and turns his attention back to the passing human flotsam - knowing that when he finally decides to stand up to leave, he will become another piece floating by. Dave embraces his membership in the mall subgroup called "Those out of whom life has beaten the sense of superiority, who now shuffle along, happy to be alive and in reasonably good health."
The number of stores Dave's likes to go into at the mall has shrunk recently, from three (the Game store, the Apple store, and Starbucks) down to two (bye bye, game store!). In an effort to find something else to look at while wandering, Dave goes into the pet store. The sign in the window notifies Dave that the store is under new management... inside, Dave finds...
A Monorail Cat
A Raccoon Comedian
A Phlegmatic Retriever
A Difficult Bear
A Suspicious Husky
And a couple of Overly-Attentive Terriers
Needless to say, Dave is impressed with the pet store, and its new management. Dave's list of mall stores he will frequent has now been raised back up to three. Of course, he cannot afford a new pet, but there's no harm in looking, Dave tells himself.
Dave wanders into Sears to look at the latest flatscreen TV's - another item he cannot currently afford to buy. But again, Dave gets his browse on... Most of the TV's lining the aisles have the same thing playing upon them: a repeating highlight video of high-definition shots of nature, designed to show off the picture quality of each set. While impressive, it does not hold Dave's interest for long. For squirreled away in the clearance section of the far aisle is a small TV playing more interesting clips...
A Crazy Norwegian
A Quick Joke Pitch
An Incredible Stunt Bicyclist
And a German beer commercial that skirts the line of Good Taste...
Dave's cellphone rings. He answers. It is his wife, notifying him that she and their daughters are finished shopping, and are cleared for departure. Dave smiles. He pockets his cellphone and heads for the exit.