A few years ago I was hanging out with a friend who is significantly younger than me. We went to a mall as she needed to buy a gift for her mom. It was of course nearly deserted as malls these days tend to be. I told her that back in the 1980s that malls were nearly always jam-packed with people, even on weekdays.

She said she’d never been in a mall that was crowded. Not once in her life (she was around 20 or 21). I described to her how back in 1986, say, it often was hard to walk in malls unimpeded as they were just awash in people. And during Christmas season it was a whole other level of cheek by jowl humanity.

Times change, of course, and I didn’t care much for malls when I was young. But I think I kind of liked them better when they weren’t ghost towns. It was before society and everyone in it had fully deserted one another and thinking about how malls used to be reminds me of that time before we’d all just given up.