Before I get too deep into this, let me warn you that I am writing this post on my Blackberry, so I will blame it for any errors it may have!

I am in Savannah today, taking care of some business and generally wasting a day that I should more than likely be at work. I have a couple hours to waste, so I decided that I would stop by the mall. Those places are typically great areas to sink hours of your life into. However, I remembered an important thing about myself as I walked through the Barnes and Noble: I am a terrible shopper. Typically my most time wasting adventures into the mall have been with someone, and I now realize that companionship is the catalyst for wasting time at the mall.

Perusing stores by yourself makes you feel creepy, as if you are stalking the store. There is no one to comment on things with, to joke about terrible window displays, to sit on a bench with and discuss the philosophical implications of capitalism fueling our country. I’ve never actually done the last, however I am sure one day someone will do it with me. My basic point is that the mall is a terrible place to seek distraction. For all but one activity: people watching.

I am completely unsure as to where my fascination with observing people comes from. Possibly some innate desire to understand my fellow man, to develop an understanding of how they work so I can ultimately fit in just a smidge better. Or it could be that mankind provides the best entertainment possible.

So, I sit outside Barnes and Noble, armed with a cup of coffee and prepare myself with enthusiastic hope. The coffee helps this quite a bit, in fact, more than likely too much. Sitting here now I am riding what feels to be a good bit of a sugar high combined with caffeine delirium. It doesn’t change my intent, however.

Mostly there are younger people here, teenagers who are spending their summer attempting to find solace in the familiar gathering places. They fall into two categories, the emo, or “scene” type, and the mainstream. The emo are easily identified, wearing odd clothing combinations, such as an orange skirt with a black tank top depicting a skull in rhinestones. These would be the stars of a Mallrats remake. One other key difference is that the emo are typically in couples within their group.

The mainstream are completely opposite. First, its all girls. Not a guy usually in sight, they are here to do serious shopping for hours and a boyfriend would hinder them. The other major difference is they all look almost completely the same. Shorts, with a solid color tank top, or a “cute” t-shirt. The only thing the two groups have in common is that I have yet to see more than one pair of real shoes.

The rest of the people walking the mall are the typical fare of a mall, friends, couples, walking and browsing. Occasionally a single shopper walks by, but they walk with a determined gait, people on a mission. I think these people feel the same as I do, awkward at being the loner in a place designed for social people.

For the last forty minutes an older lady as sat at the bench behind me talking on her cell phone. It is the light, fluffy conversation of someone speaking to a lifelong friend. About once every twenty minutes the air compressor of the for the airbrush stand kicks on. A loud hum permeates the air, heard across the majority of the mall. The adults ignore the sound, but it drives all the children in the area into a mad frenzy, trying to locate the source of the sound.

Most people are not carrying bags, and in my vantage point I have seen several groups of people entering the mall, and now passing by to leave empty handed. It makes me wonder why they came here, why waste the time? And then I realize that here I am, sitting on a bench tapping away on a cell phone keyboard, with no intention of spending more than the three dollars it cost me for my coffee. Maybe they have found the same thing I came here for, an easy way to lose a few hours of their day.