Friday, December 3, 2010

And we danced on the floor in the round

I took a rare detour this evening to our local shopping mall. I don't often shop at malls, but this time I was on a mission.

I had purchased a coat online from Nordstrom, and although I loved the coat, one of its fasteners had come off. It wasn't something easily repaired by me or my drycleaner, so I decided to take it to my local Nordstrom - at the mall! - and see if they could repair it.

This is a newly renovated and fancied up mall, within a few blocks of my job. There are fancy restaurants, designer boutiques, and high-end Nordstrom and Bloomingdales department stores.

The people at Customer Service couldn't have been nicer. I left my coat with the alterations department, and then spent an hour at a wine bar on the upper level dining deck, with a glass of wine and a Small Plate. It was lovely.

When I finished my snack, I headed back into Nordstrom to find out if they could fix my coat.

Sadly, they were unable to fix it. They advised me to return it, and helped me do it right there in the store. I took the escalator down through the store to head for the parking garage.

The escalator fed me into the First Floor shoe department, where there was a big Sales Event going on. Rows of tall racks of shoes and boots were arrayed on the carpeted floor, and people crowded the benches, trying on bargains.

I started browsing, looking for - I dunno - maybe some leopard-printed ballet flats? The overhead speakers played up-beat music. As I walked round and round the shoe racks, the next song came on. Michael Jackson, singing "Billie Jean."

I walked past the rank of shoe racks, and saw her. She was a salesgirl; young, with long brown hair, wearing a cherry-colored pullover and carrying a stack of shoeboxes. She was strutting down the aisle between the racks to the music, shaking her hips to MJ. "Billie Jean is not my lover...she's just a girl who claims that I am the one...."

It cracked me up. I looked at her and said, "Everybody has to dance to that song!"

She looked embarrassed at first, and then laughed, and kept on dancing. Yes, she did.

Chalk drawing, on a wall in Paris in the Rue D'assas, July, 2009. Click to "embiggen"

His music is the best example of mainstream, best-selling popular music, crafted for commercial success. And yet his artistry and human vulnerability transcend the commercial - lingering in our hearts even as we acknowledge the blatant calculation of it.

His music still inspires people - even young salesgirls who were born after his time of glory hear him sing and it makes them shake their booties. What a legacy.


21 Wits said...

Yes he and his music will live on. It's odd though it seems often people become more famous or loved after they have passed. Elvis for one, was kind of on the way out, until he died. I still and always will admire him and his music. Look at Marilyn Monroe, if she had lived and later became not so popular in old age, she would be what people speak about Elizabeth Taylor, which really isn't ever much good, and she had quite a hey day in the makes me think we need to praise them all the more while they're living!

Sue said...

You took me right there with you...the wine, the shoes and the dancing, who could ask for more!

Anonymous said...

For a moment there, I thought that Nordstroms had a wine bar!

carmilevy said...

His music is indeed timeless, and his dedication to his craft was legendary. What always blew me away about him was his absolute perfectionism. I once watched a documentary on how he prepared for a performance. He'd endlessly review video of himself onstage, ruthlessly picking apart the most minute details and then going back up to work it through again.

The world lost a giant when he passed away. Thankfully, his art lives on to thrill another generation.

(Love that mall, btw. I'm generally not a big fan of these over-commercialized spaces, but your pictures make me want to visit. The Canadian in me appreciates the outdoor architecture that simply wouldn't work in a northern climate. Thank you for taking us there with you!)