SUN 11 SEP 2011 ca. 1:45 p.m. THE BAY WOMEN’S WEAR
Department store quiet and cavernous as the sun shines outsidethermal-inversion light filtering through far-off glass doors. Subdued, librarylike, mainly the heavy industrial thrum and squeak of the escalators. Then a low-volume sound of a woman’s power vocal performance on the sound systemjust audible. The floor is tiled with white linoleum squares, with subdued, camouflage-green hard-wearing carpet under the racks of clothes. Close by me: a small rack of denim shorts, 50% off.
Looking past the big square pillar: the shoe department, more spacious and open, like looking out on a field from the dimness of the forest or a cavealthough all fluorescent-lit from rectangular panels set in the dropped ceiling. Tables with curved legs and glass tops hold podiums with women’s shoes, solitary and unpaired. On the far wall: spotlit wooden shelves of shoes looking more like books in a bookstore.
Snatches of muted conversation as shoppers pass by with their children: “Because a promise is a promise,” says a little boy, “you can’t go back.”
The clop and clack of shoes on the tile; the strained squeaking of the escalator handrails, ceaselessly moving. A false, air-conditioned world, weakly and cheaply lit. Out those glass doors: the flash and sparkle of cars rolling by.