i took sally to the mall food court for the first time today. she loved that shit. remember when you were a kid and going to mcdonalds was a special treat? that’s what it was like. yeah, so she was loving it, first time, we took the escalator down because the food court’s in the basement of the mall. and there’s a bunch of fountains down there, i guess for atmosphere. looks like an underground cave surrounded by sbarro and various chinese food places. but it’s her first time and she’s having a blast. she loves the escalator, and when i told her to walk up the down one she was so excited and everyone who was coming down had this big grin on their face watching her. it was pretty cute, i must admit.
we get to the fountain, and there’s all these pools in the ground, you know, where the fountain water goes. it’s looking like a grotto, stay with me here, and there’s a barrier so people don’t randomly fall in. and since they’re fountains there’s a bunch of coins in there, and sally just shouts “I WANT THE MONEY” and nearly topples in the fountain. she’s like I WANT THE MONEY, CAN I HAVE THE MONEY and i say, “no, sally, that would be bad luck.” she asks why and i say, “because people made a wish and put those coins in there for good luck, and taking them out would be bad luck,” and i can feel, like, in the back of my head, this nagging voice shouting STOP, DON’T CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION
but she says, “what is luck?” do you know how to answer that? because i don’t. i was like, “well, luck is when something happens by chance, like if you were riding your bike and you fell, but you didn’t get hurt, people would say you were lucky, because there was a good chance that you would get hurt falling off your bike.” and she said “okay” and then started eating her pizza. i thought it was over. but then she said, “if i take the money out of the water, then the people’s wishes wouldn’t come true?” i said no, not necessarily, it’s just a superstition, really. she says “what is superstition” and i say, “it’s a belief that doing something will create or stop something else from happening. like, people don’t walk under ladders because they say it will bring you seven years of bad luck. that’s a superstition.” “is that true?” she says. and i say, “no, superstitions aren’t real.” “then why do people believe in them?” “i don’t know, honey.” so she sits there for a second, eating her pizza, and then she looks over at the fountain and says, “that’s not real?” and i say, “well, no, honey, not really.” and she says, “so i can take the money then and nobody will be hurt?”
and i’m like … yeah. yeah. you can. and now she’s all excited to take money out of the water and what can i do? my six year old has better logic skills than i do. so we finish our food and then spend the next few minutes on our knees, lurched over the barrier, fishing pennies out of the fountain. and nobody messes with us. nobody asks us what we’re doing, no security guards come and harass us. sally makes about two dollars in change and we go home. she spends it on candy at fred meyer. at first i was horrified, i thought people were going to think we were monsters, but i looked up at one point and some old lady had sat across the pool from us, just staring and smiling so bright. how can you deny your child that kind of amusement? you know? i figure, one of those wishes was to make my daughter happy on her first day at the mall food court.