This is Disneyland's Main Street. More importantly, it is one of many windows above a shop on main street. We Noehren fam kids were very fortunate as children in that we went to Disneyland often because our grandparents lived next door. Our Disneyland trips ended the way I am sure those of most families do--in a zombie-like trek up and down Main Street looking for candy and a cheap souvenir to mark the occasion.
However, I was more interested in these windows above the shops, which I assumed for more years than could be considered normal were apartments where the Disneyland employees lived. I desperately wanted to live in one of these apartments and have the conveniences of Main Street and, really, all of Disneyland, at my fingertips.
Now, I am living the dream. As I've mentioned before, I live in an apartment complex above an outdoor shopping mall, very similar to those that have been popping up all over the country during the past several years as part of the "mixed use" development craze. It is like a modern Main Street with mall cops on Segways instead of white-clad street sweepers. Part of me is hesitant to discuss my mall-living here, as there is really only one shopping mall with apartments above it in my town and it is therefore easy to figure out exactly where I live, but I pretty much lost all my Internet stalkers when I switched from my old blog to this one and I've got the comfort of the fake name and a good security system as well. I suppose if any stalkers appear, I can just delete this post.
I love living at the mall. I love telling people I live at the mall, even when they are older women who give me screwy faces as a result. And so I have prepared a list of the top ten benefits I have gleaned so far from living on top of the mall. As the list demonstrates, the conveniences run both ways. That is, it is convenient to have a mall below your home, but it is surprisingly just as convenient to have your home above the mall. With that said...
10. Duh... the food. Fast food. And chain restaurants. And sweets and snacks. This mall has pretty great food. It does not have pretty cheap food. I feel like I'm eating at the airport at times. For the sake of my wallet and my waistline (and my desire to explore areas outside of the mall), I have put a limit on the number of mall meals I can have per week.
9. Technically, free parking at the mall. (For you. But not your friends. Meaning, technically, your friends also have to pay to park at the mall when they are simply coming to visit you.)
8. Coupons and other discounts given to residents by mall proprietors and restaurateurs.
7. Smug feeling that you're buying "local" when you're really buying mass-produced merchandise from H&M.
6. First dinner and then a movie, but dinner resulted in a doggie bag? No problem, just trot home between the two and store the doggie bag in your fridge.
5. You know how Alton Brown is always encouraging you to get to know your grocer or your butcher, as if you are going to go to Trader Joe's and demand to meet the manager and then invite him to go bowling? Well, living at the mall, you really get to know your retailers. Now I just walk into Rubio's and order "The Usual."
4. The ability to give simplified directions to one's home. ("Go to the mall. Buzz me.")
3. Justifying high-end purchases based on perceived saved transportation costs (e.g., "I'm sure it is just as cheap to buy designer vanilla extract downstairs at Williams-Sonoma as it would be to drive to the grocery store and buy generic vanilla extract. Plus, there's the value of my time!" BTW, my time is of absolutely no value these days.)
2. "Research Library" on the premises (aka Barnes & Noble).
And the number one reason to live on top of a shopping mall...
1. NEVER, EVER having to use the mall's public restroom (because the comforts and cleanliness of home are only a few feet away).