A day at the mall

Today is the fourth day in a row over 41 degrees – 43, 41, 44, and forecast another 44. Like most Melburnians I’m over it. I took a break from it by going to Doncaster Shoppingtown, or rather Westfield Doncaster as they call it now.

I’m not really a mall kind of guy. I’ve lived away from that environment since I was about 20 years old. I don’t mind visiting one every so often, especially when the heat is extreme. Still, I always find it a bit of an anthropological curiosity. As malls go Doncaster is pretty la di da. High ceilings, big glass skylights, marble fixtures, not too many bogans.

I wandered around, killing time and looking for somewhere I could get a decent breakfast. The place was still filling when I arrived, but seemed mainly inhabited by families – mainly mothers – with their kids; or kids themselves, young teens mainly, gravitating to the big spaces of the local mall on their school holidays.

After a bit I found myself at the cinema, my excuse for being there. I stood in line with the families, and kids, distinctly the odd man out. Ahead one such family had somehow made it to the ticket counter without having decided which movie they wanted to see. They clogged up the line whilst their kids debated the decision. They were in no hurry – they took 10 minutes at it – but I was getting distinctly impatient. (A situation replicated hours later when trying to exit the car park, only to be delayed 10 minutes by the nuff nuffs ahead of me who had failed to validate their parking ticket before getting in the car.)

I decided to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and found myself sitting amid a line of 10 year olds. It’s a sign of the times that while they waited for the movie to start they all played games on tablet or smartphone (to be fair, I took to Twitter). When the movie came on there was much crackling and slurping, not to mention the always alluring popcorn breath. Then as the movie progressed a rapt silence settled on the theatre.

It took me back to my childhood, how I’d go see a movie with my mates and what a blast that was. We must have seen dozens of movies together, either locally, mainly the Were Street cinema or at the Complex at Greensborough, or journey into the city by train for a day out.

This movie was great. I’d seen the good reviews and was keen to see it, but didn’t expect it to be this good. It was clever, it was funny, it was serious in parts, and it was kinda sweet without being too much. It was really well done. Safe to say the best movie I’ve seen this year.

Naturally it got me wistful again for travelling. These things set up a small ache in me. It’ll pass, I’ve seen more than most so can’t complain, and I’ll go again. There was one moment that got to me. He has a nice family Walter, and his mum does something sweet just like my mum would – keeping mementoes of her children.

A day in burbs. Once upon a time, growing up, this was my area. Much familiar remains, and much foreign to the man I’ve become.


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