After yesterday's post, I decided today to partake in an 'Arcade Tour' of Cleveland. I walked to Superior and into the Euclid Arcade, then crossed over to the Colonial Marketplace. At that point in the day, most shops had locked up. Hunger rang within me, and as all the food vendors had closed or were emitting disinfectant smells, I decided to try another place for food.
I ended up walking down E. 6 and over to Au Bon Pain in the Fifth Third Center. The place was virtually deserted at 4:25 pm. One cashier stood post, talking to a man with a coffee. Occasionally, a cook would appear from the kitchen. He said he'd be right with me.
I ordered a chicken sandwich, asked the guy how his day was going. He seemed preoccupied with a cart that held several dozen containers of dressing.
-- I'm just trying to get out of here, man, he said. 6:30 and I am out that door.
He slapped both hands, clad in rubber gloves, then pointed to the outside. I noticed that he had a tattoo the upperside of his wrist that read: Shelly.
I nodded in commiseration, though I knew it to be no earlier than 4:30. I thought, am I the last person to order for tonight? Do you always start your closing work at 4 pm, when the place closes at 6?
I paid for my sandwich and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. The clerk tried to upsell me on a cookie and a drink. I politely declined.
With last night's post still on my mind, I walked up E. 9th to the Galleria and took the escalator to the second floor. For the last month, the down escalator at the E. 9th entrance has been busted. The guts of the movable stair are exposed like a war casualty in a film.
The spot I always sit at is located near the center of the mall and looks up at the Erieview Tower and down onto an open space. On this day, a book seller had set up a series of tables with sash that read: Reading is Fun. I also looked down upon a suit maker named Dario -- a shop in which I have never seen a customer. The same sign accosts me: 1 suit: $99 ; additional suits: $1. Behind me was the Friends of the Cleveland Hullets display space. An older couple walked past me. They seemed to recall when there was legitimate business in the retail space. They noticed the Hullets store and decided to take a look inside. It was the first time I have seen anyone in the hullets store beside me.
I attempted to write in my comp book, but I could not find a pen. So I read a little of the latest A Public Space. By the time I needed to head back to work, the sky had mostly gone dark and the Galleria took on a dimness that astounds me each time I see it.