Potemkin Shopping Center

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Let’s start off with an image of the Stanford Shopping Center in the before-time: nothing but blue sky, new buildings, and lots of people:

It has been a full year since Covid was first reported. It has been eight months since the oh-so-elite Stanford Shopping Center shuttered itself. And, at least once a week, I use it for its only remaining purpose: a fun place for my dogs to explore.

It’s absolutely bizarre to walk through the place. The place is kept absolutely in pristine condition. The floors are clean. The landscaping is perfect. The decorations are out. The displays are well-lit and attractive. It has everything you would expect…………except humans.

It seems to me that the entire place is doing exactly what the rest of the world is doing – – just moving along, acting like everything is just a-ok.

I’ve learned this year to stop pretending. I used to enjoy fine dining. I tried it – – gave it my best attempt – – a couple of months ago, and one $600 meal later, I decided, nope, never again. It is preposterous to take what used to be an exceptional experience and pretend it isn’t any different just because you’re at a table next to a street with cars rumbling by, and you’re out in the open night air.

The one place in the entire mall that seems to have embraced reality is none other than Microsoft, which has permanently shuttered. As with so many things over the past forty years, Microsoft is leading the way forward.

It’s just lunacy to me. No people. No purchases. Just make-believe. If we were not collectively insane, the Dow would be about 5,000 right now.