You can file this under, "You kids get off my lawn". I can't believe I'm writing this, but more amazing to me is, "when did I turn into to Old Man Johnson?" It must have been one of those slow changes like a glacial flow. Suddenly you look up and things have changed beyond recognition.
Sort of like the place where this happened, the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Located at the corner of Ventura and Sepulveda, at one time it was the teenage activity center of the San Fernando Valley. A two story mall with a food court, movie theaters and teen age girls speaking in a vapid dialect that became a parody unto itself. It was so iconinc that it was featured in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High.
It was not unlike most malls around the country but this one was Valley Central and became the thing, but Whatever. I remember during the Rodney King riots of 1992 there were two armored tanks and a dozen National Guard troupes stationed around the Galleria to protect it from the looting and the civil disobedience that was spreading from South Central.
Not long after the 92 riots, they gutted the space and made the Galleria into a semi-open air, single story facility. It doesn't look at all like it did. In fact it looks more like the courtyard of an office building complex than a Mall now a days. It is hard for me to remember what it once was. We still attend movies there at the beautiful Arch Light cinemas and our bank is still there so it still serves a function for us even though it is no longer our nearest best mall.
I can accept the change in the Galleria and reluctantly the change in myself as the years go on, but I can't seem to accept a new generation of Millennials that have come to populate the space. Perhaps it is just a matter of not understanding them.
Most of the young patrons are not mall hanging shoppers, but young professionals that work in the various office buildings that either surround or occupy the Galleria, depending on how you think of the complex. There has been a lot said about the over privilege and indulgence of this new crop of people. Since the same was said about a"Bunch of G--Damn hippies" that was my generation, I try not to listen to stereotypical bigotry from the "elders", especially since everyone but me assumes I am one of those cranky elders.
At any rate, today, I was cashing some checks at the bank which is located in the middle of the courtyard. I was done quickly and decided to get a Starbucks as a reward (plus I had cash burning a hole in my jeans.)
I walked with purpose across the common area and found myself behind a young girl also walking to Starbucks. She was totally involved in the screen of her cell phone when she suddenly stopped cold in her tracks. Two steps behind her I stepped to my left to walk around her. At the same time she took two steps backwards and to her left and we bumped into each other before I could avoid her. It wasn't a bad bump just a crash of two bodies that were trying to occupy the same space. Over her shoulder I could see that she was playing Pokemon Go which was the reason for her abrupt change in direction.
Instinctively I said, "Excuse me". I didn't say it as an apology, it was a comment to assure her it was not my intention to bump her. She was immediately angry and with her brow furrowed she looked up from her cell phone screen for the first time and said, "Hey, why don't you watch were you are going."
The fact is... I WAS watching where I was going. It was she who had no idea this was a common walkway and not a Pokemon rescue reserve. For the next few minutes I had to stand in front of her in a Starbucks line. I wasn't sure if I was feeling the cold shoulder or the heat of anger coming from her. She didn't look up from the screen again.
Millennials... are you not aware that there are more people on this planet than just the people on your cell phone contact list and Pokemons? It's dangerous enough to be this distracted when you are walking at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, but I have seen some of you in LA traffic texting with both hands while driving. Although if you are not looking at the road and don't have at least one hand on the wheel, I would not call it driving. I guess what I am trying to say is, if you are that unaware of anything that is happening in your life that is not on a phone screen, then stay at home. Those of us just trying to cash a check get a cup of coffee would appreciate it.
As you were,