Not wanting to ride 25 blocks to the markets in Greenwood and then lug back up the slope with a backpack full of groceries, I went looking for a supermarket closer to home. That's how I ended up at the Albertson's store, in the enormous Big K-Mart strip mall at 130th and Aurora.
It's certainly a big enough store, especially considering how few people were in there. Here it is Sunday afternoon and only one check stand was open -- and not crowded. It seemed to me there were a lot of cars in the strip mall, but not that many people. One guy came up to me to try to bum a cigarette, but of course I had none to give. That made me feel pretty good.
I didn't go into the K-Mart, which lives up to its name -- it's truly enormous. But it didn't look like it was very crowded either. I coasted past it and parked my bike outside a Staples store and went in to buy a couple of their excellent Staples™ brand thick-grip ball-point pens. Beyond the Staples store there's a huge L.A. Fitness facility, and across from this row of very large retail outlets, backed up against the sidewalk next to Aurora, is another row of businesses. These are smaller than the behemoths on the east side, and quite a few of them are restaurants.
I surveyed my surroundings, and found myself looking over a vast, two-thirds empty parking lot. It was just one big lot for the whole, blocks-long strip mall, and I wondered how many football fields would fit into it. Then I wondered how many of these retail outlets would still be open two years from now -- five years from now.
Where are we? Where have we been; where are we going?