The mall was crowded with enthusiastic shoppers. Derek fought his way to a seat in the food court and sipped his coffee. He checked his watch. It only made him angry. These were three hours of his life he’d never get back.
Through the cacophony Derek heard someone call his name. He recognized the voice of Albert, a friend from church.
“What’re you doin’ here, man?” asked Albert.
“Shopping,” said Derek.
“Nah, There’s nothing here for guys our age.”
“I hear ya,” said Albert. He dropped his bags and sat down.
“Three hundred stores in the place and, what, five clothing stores for men? What’s with that?”
“I know, eh?”
“I’ve been here all evening, like I can afford to blow off a whole night. Know what I just figured out?”
“The only clothes they sell are either for eighteen year olds or senior citizens. What about guys in our forties, like us?”
Albert chuckled. “I’m wearing the same board shorts my son wears.”
“And I refuse to dress like Arnold Palmer,” said Derek. He looked at the pile of bags around Albert. “What’d you get?”
“Oh, these are the family’s. I’m the pack mule.”
“Don’t even get me started on that,” said Derek.
“Yep,” said Albert, nodding in agreement.
The two sat and watched people scurry around the food court.
“I may have to take drastic measures,” said Derek.
“Know what I think?” asked Albert.
“I think this is bigger than clothing stores. Our generation is a lull in the societal road map, a pause in the decline of Western civilization. On one side are the Baby Boomers. On the other, the Echo Boom, or Generation Punk, or whatever they’re called nowadays,” said Albert.
Derek’s eyes got wide as Albert spoke.
“Everything in society is focused on them. We’re the lost generation. It’s a travesty. Unless we stand up for ourselves we’ll always be neglected. You’re right. We need to take dramatic steps. Make people remember us, focus on our needs. Yeah. What did you have in mind?” said Albert as stared wild eyed off into the distance.
“I was going to buy my shirts online,” said Derek.
“Oh. That’ll work, too,” said Albert. “Lookie there, I see my family’s ready to go. I’ll see ya around, eh?”
“Yeah, see ya around,” said Derek. He watched Albert and his family disappear into the crowd. Derek decided not to go to the mall anymore.