There are few structures left in this world that can provide a truly life-changing experience for the person who visits. The Vatican, Machu Picchu, The UVM ROTC Building, but none of these triumphs of human accomplishment can compare to the greatest one of all… University Mall in Burlington Vermont.
We’ve all been there, doing our little shopping at Target getting our packages of sliced mozzarella cheese and stealing nail polish, and we pass the strange self-checkout area that leads into the great beyond of the mall. Like a portal to another dimension with only the very brave willing to cross the cursed threshold. One weekend a couple of friends and I decided to explore this area, but we would not be going in alone. We would be accompanied by Mary Jane, the weed, the devil’s lettuce, and ganja. Aided by weed, we explored the University Mall, and it was a religious experience, and one I will never forget.
It was the Saturday before Easter and to begin we got off the bus at around three pm and walked into the glorious building. We had smoked about 30 minutes before and I was riding high if you catch my drift. Initially, I was unimpressed, it looked like an unrenovated mall from 2005. Bluish white tile, white walls, the usual; but It was absolutely slammed. Everyone and their mother was there. Then I am hit by the first anomaly. I see with my own, mostly closed two eyes, a grown man wearing a goofy face mask driving a train and tooting a train horn. Behind him was the train filled with kids, all in Easter masks laughing and having a good time. I just stood there in shock and awe.
The first store we entered was a game store. You might think to yourself “was it like a game stop or some national brand?” No. It wasn’t. It was a local business taking shop in the mall. This was my first clue that half the stores would be very strange. But we went into this games store. I hide it well, but I have been known to partake in the gaming arts from time to time. High me and my other friend were very motivated to enter, my girlfriend, on the other hand, was not; but we bullied her into coming in. My high ass proceeded to explain all the various nerdy things in the store, going into immense detail into every little nuance of each thing… After those five minutes, we left and continued on our journey.
After leaving the strange mom and pop game store we get to the main strip, the real meat and potatoes of the mall. Weaving between the stores like Hot Topic, Watch Repair, and Jim’s Sports. Passing the man in the easter bunny costume paid to take photos with kids. We see an H&M my girlfriend turns to me and says, “I hate to say this, and I hate this about myself. But I could tear up and H&M now.” We entered and proceeded to tear it up.
We turn the corner and my friend gasps and says “AUNTIE ANNES!” We then get the most delicious pretzels I have ever had in my entire life. Eating it right next to the real Asian food restaurant named Fortune Cookie. While also in the process of scaring a poor woman trying to throw things away with my uncontrollable laughing.
Finally, we reach the end, hitting the target wall, the other side of the portal. All standing around looking at the PUBLIC LIBRARY in this establishment. We exit the facility as changed people and I haven’t felt the same since.
This experience changed me. I am not the same person I was before I entered that special building. I genuinely thought I was in another dimension, back in 2005 on the Easter holiday. I can no longer think about Easter, or eat a pretzel without thinking of this trip. Sober me would have thought “Oh this is weird,” but high me was able to see the matrix. High me saw the space between the atoms making it the closest thing to a religious experience I have ever had. I saw god in that mall that day and he was a grown man in a goofy mask driving bunny kids around the mall.