Wandering on my bike Thursday morning, I ended up at “the ghost mall,” the old Winrock Center a few miles from my house. It’s one of those enclosed shopping malls circa the ’60s, when air conditioning and indoor shopping was all the rage.
It’s now largely empty, discarded in favor of new shopping trends despite the fact that it was perfectly useful if you needed to buy a t-shirt or tennies or play those new-fangled electronic games at the video arcade.
It’s a testament to our affluence that we can throw away something with such heft and permanence and continued usefulness. But it occurs to me that it’s a good little conceptual practice ground for thinking about life in the long emergency – peak oil and the like.
When it was still a working mall, I went for a bike ride around it one Christmas day, reasoning that was the only time I’d ever get to race around its ring road without having to deal with traffic. These days, most any day will do. I was feeling all smug and satisfied Thursday morning as I rode around the mall, thinking that, in the long emergency, when all around us is collapsing, I’ll still be able to ride my bike to get around.
But where will I get tires?