When archeologists of the future discover the ruins of the mall at 900 North Michigan, will they correctly construe even one particle of the scene? The look of the women, the plate glass, the nature of the activity? Will they puzzle over the word ‘Chanel,’ taking it to be the name of a person or god?
Or will they say, ‘Ah, this was their market, this where they bought fish and gossiped, traipsing up and down its sharp-toothed metal stairs in their heavy boots of leather and rubber, prepared for any adversity?’ Or, when the structure has collapsed and its goods lie buried in an enormous heap, will future enquirers mistakenly hail it as the great ritual burying ground of a long-lost city?
Pity their cluelessness. The materials, the setting, the actions: all are perfectly intelligible, really. This is fashion, this is Christmastime, this is Bloomingdale’s, this is shopping. All this must be. And everything the bags contain is necessary, no matter how it may seem.