In Which Our Intrepid Hero Explores Goth Subculture At A Large Shopping Mall

Before I begin this Droning, I have to give a little bit of background. I don't consider myself to be a part of any subculture. I am just me. Odd, funny-looking, bemused and reasonably intelligent except when it comes to the interaction of human beings. I have never been a Goth, at least I don't think so. In the 80's I listened to a lot of music that other people had never heard of, that I am finding out now was the early sort of Goth stuff. Me, I just liked it because it didn't sound like the crap that the record companies were shoving down our throats via EmTV and the radio. I couldn't get into the hard core punk, but I did think Elvis Costello was the best living songwriter, and the Psychedelic Furs should have been played on the radio.

Yeah, I wear mostly black, but its because I don't like to think a lot about what color matches what, and black goes with everything. When J. Peterman was still around (*sniff*, lousy rat-bastards going into bankruptcy just as I was getting dependent upon them. Damn you! Damn you all to hell! <grovels on the ground like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes>) I bought the stuff that was designed to look like turn of the century business folk clothing. The Thomas Jefferson shirt (I have three of them) the squire shirt and my beloved Irish Pub Shirt, which was the softest damn thing ever to touch my skin, all have a very Antique look.

I used to dye my hair in the 80's (OK, and into the early 90's) but I was dying it red, not black. My hair is naturally a very dark brown, with more and more gray in it that I blame on whoever says anything about it. If my hair was short, I would have the Hal Jordan/Reed Richards "gray at the temples" thing going, but my hair is very long now, and prolly going to get longer since I just like how it looks long. And yes, I love old black and white monster movies to the point of near obsession.

I don't wear jewelry of any kind other than an earring every once in a while, I've never worn makeup unless I'm on a stage performing, and the only time I would ever read poetry is when I am forced to at gunpoint to save the life of my immortal beloved...America's sweetheart Parker Posey. OK, maybe Allyson Harrington too, but you get the idea.

People who don't know me very well are always trying to put me into a category, and I have been asked if I'm one of those Goth people who are obsessed with death. I always respond no, that Goths want to die. I don't want to die, I want other people to die, preferably the ones who are bothering me by asking stupid questions.

In fact, one of the oddest things I've been accused of being was by the guy who sells me my morning bagel. Downstairs, in the building I work in, is an Au Bon Pain which, despite the French name, makes tolerable bagels. When I feel like eating in the morning (which is rare, I assure you) I'll grab a bagel, and the counter guy for weeks kept asking me if I was a magician.

You know, I've been called a lot of things, but never a magician. The kids at the group home either call me "That Asshole" or "The Crow." The people at work either call me "That Asshole" or "The Computer Guy." My ex-girlfriends just call me "That Asshole" and never give enough of a damn to think of a second name. But I, as always, digress.

I kept saying no, and leaving, but one day he started going on and on about it. The bagel I wanted wasn't made yet, but it would be ready in about three minutes, and he went on and on about how I just had that look about me. Finally, I decided that if I looked like a magician, I might as well learn a magic trick. As a kid, I was really into magic, as are all little, sheltered, poorly socialized, introverted, non-sports playing geek boys. I had the magic card decks, the books on how to do some slight of hand, and the like. I learned how to make small objects disappear, the secrets behind the bigger illusions, pouring milk into a newspaper and all that. It was fun, but I just don't do it much now, since I have more than enough to do in my life without that. There's Guinness to be drunk and redheads to spurn my advances. So, I read up on a couple of tricks...and decide that I'll just play with his head instead.

I come in the next morning with a deck of cards in my pocket and when he says, "Magician dude..." I pull out the deck of cards and a sealed envelope. I hand him the envelope and start shuffling the cards. I do the whole theatrical thing with the flourish and all, directing him to pick a card, having him show other people but not me. You've seen a magician do that sort of thing, but I do it small, so as not to bother the other customers in line. I have him place the card face up on the counter, and then direct him to open the envelope. He does so and pulls out the note which reads, "I've told you a bajillion times I'm not a magician, can I please have my bagel now?" Of course, when he gets it for me, I do a quick little slight of hand making the dollar appear to come out of thin air without saying a word (when it was concealed in the back of my grip) and go on my merry way.

All of this has nothing to do with what I'm writing about, but you should be used to that by now.

As I was reading the local so-called alternative paper for something to do, now that I am kind of in need of a social life. OK, maybe I don't need a social life, but I am looking for new places to drink and new people to amuse me, so as I was leafing through the paper I saw that there was an ad for Goth/Industrial night at a bar. Now it's odd that they would advertise such a thing, since I would think that that is a culture that doesn't rely on advertising, but prefers word of mouth. Then, I saw it was at Gators at the Mall of America on Sunday nights.

The Mall of America is in one of Minneapolis's blandest, whitest suburbs, and is the Largest Mall In The United States. The Second largest mall in the World. It has a Hello Kitty store, a Franklin Mint store, an FAO Schwartz that is completely dedicated to Barbie. There's an amusement park in the middle of the mall with a Ferris wheel, bumper cars and a carousel. In other words, this is not a dark and gloomy building. On top of that, Gators is mostly known as a bar that caters to the Frat boy and Big Hair girl crowd. The one time I had been there before, I was amazed at the fact that women still can get their bangs that high. Beefy guys were drinking bad beer and shouting at the TV, which was showing hockey. This is not what you think of when you think "moody".

There was also a coupon in the ad for a free drink. This also struck me as a bit odd, but very Minnesotan. "Well, I was going to go down to Ground Zero, but I'll go the Mall instead. I've got a coupon!"

I had to go.

It cried out for me to just go and drink in the whole experience.

And besides, it was a Sunday night and the X-Files hasn't started new episodes yet.

To Part 2