six hours in a Florida mall.


By electric Emmet.

All right. I am an addict. I need professional help.
I cannot get through the day without spending hours and hours on my computer, Kindle and/or IPod. If I am watching television, I have a computer or Kindle in my lap, doing e-mail or my addiction-within-an addiction, Solitaire.
It’s not just me. In Charleston or Spring Hill when three or four adults are sitting around, chances are excellent that each has a computer on their laps. Often, they are sending messages to each other, sitting a few feet apart.
It’s not just me.
Mt life is hardly ever boring. Infuriating, sure, but hardly ever boring. When I crossed the Florida border a few weeks ago, the air conditioning died. Naturally. It was 85 degrees. Since Florida has been experiencing a rare prolonged cold snap (34 degrees Wednesday morning) it wasn’t vital to have my AC.
But as the weather got hotter, I decided to have the AC fixed before I went home to Maine. I mean I must use the air three or four times a year in Maine. At Ice Cold Air, they estimated it would take two hours for the repair.
I came prepared. I took my Kindle Fire with me, along with some newspaper crossword puzzles. I walked off to Starbucks, a mile away. I finished the crossword puzzles, then did e-mail, Facebook (The Slacker’s Delight) and read every Internet word about the Red Sox and Florida Gulf Coast’s basketball team, my new faves. Surprisingly, the two hours flew by with the presence of a cup of very expensive Italian Roast coffee.
As I was preparing for the mile hike back to Ice Cold Air, the phone rang. The job must be done, I assumed.
It seemed (who knows?) that my year of Honda Accord had two models and they ordered the parts for the wrong one. Try four more hours.
I was trapped in a west Florida mall for four more hours. There was only one solution. Eat. I had the pasta with “heart attack” sauce at Panera, checking e-mail and Facebook all the while.
One hour down.
There was only one solution with three hours left: the movies. Thank god they had a movie which opened at noon. You have not lived until you have shared a movie line at noon in a west coast Florida mall. If the world ended at that moment and we were the only people left on the planet, I would have to be president. It was that bad. I was waiting for a car repair. What was their excuse?
The selection of movies was quite slim and the brilliant sunshine hid the movie times. I reluctantly bought a ticket to “Admissions,” only because Tina Fey starred in it. I love Tina for her Palin impressions.
Only when I got inside did I see that the movie started at 1:30 p.m. It was noon. Like a lonely pervert, I walked into the movie an hour early. Alone. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Wi-Fi and I had to make do with more and more Solitaire, and some downloaded Sports Illustrated Magazine issues on the Kindle. I had one crossword left in the local paper. I did it as slowly as I could.
Finally, the movie started. Unfortunately. I always said the worst movie I ever saw was “Mall Cop” with Kevin James, which I mistakenly ordered in a Baltimore hotel. Well, “Admissions” is right up there with “Mall Cop.” Sure, I love Tina, but she simply cannot do the Big Screen.
It was seven dollars out the window, but it was finally four p.m. and I took the mile hike back to Ice Cold Air.
“Almost done,” I was told as I went in the door, six hours after dropping the car off. There was only one thing to do. I sat down and checked my e-mail and Facebook, unattended for hours and hours.
As I paid the $300 and drove off to Outback (no Wi-Fi) for a celebratory Blooming Onion, I wondered aloud, not for the first time, what the hell did people do before the Internet? Read books? Be serious.
Talk to each other? For six hours in a west coast Florida mall? I believe that e-mail and Facebook were invented to keep me amused in my retirement and I shall make the most of them, addiction or not.
Red jack on the black queen.