Yesterday I descended into Greater Vancouver’s mall hell, Metrotown. I avoid this place year 'round (if I can,) because even off peak periods it’s jam-packed to a degree that stresses the hell out of me, and difficult to navigate.
As you can imagine, this time of year it’s much, much worse. You know that scene in THX-1138, where THX’s drug evasion allows him to clearly see how insanely overcrowded the corridors he’s negotiating are? Metrotown at Christmas makes that look like the single sparsest shot from Stanley Kubrick’s most sterile film, by comparison. It’s craaaaaaazy.
Yesterday around 6:30pm, it was invaded by an army of Santa Suits – and not regular Santa Suits, everything from sexpot Santas to post-apocalyptic Santas. Somewhere around seventy-five, I’d say. (Hard to tell in the confusion, but there were a lot.)
Santas in red-and-white, faux-fur-trimmed camoflage; Santas in tutus; Santas in fascist-inspired clothes; Santas in clown costume; Satanic Santas; Santas with helpers in festive BDSM gear; Hobo Santas, and even a Darth Santa. A veritable panoply of psychedelic Santas, a good percentage whom were equipped with noisemakers.
When I first saw them, they were marching across the pedestrian overpass that leads from the Skytrain to the mall. It seemed like they just kept spilling out of it forever. At one point, I was standing just under the sign at the mall-side intersection, and it was Santas as far as you could see in two directions, as they marched to the Mall entrance.
They were singing and chanting as they went along: “HO! HO! HO! BUY MORE SHIT! HO! HO! HO! BUY MORE SHIT!” and shouting out Christmas carols with the word “buy” for each note.
I was just on my way through a corner of the mall to get to the electronics store on the other side, but I wondered what the hell that would be like inside the mall proper – it was already murder to navigate the place and just the giant toy-train ride pulling the kiddies around the mall created chaos in its wake. How would security even begin to try to reign something like that in? Would they even try?
On my way back it seemed as through the mall pub had absorbed the majority of the influx, though. There were about a dozen just standing around the doors.
That little bit of surrealism made the trip a lot more tolerable.