The Mall Hugger.

This is way too cute to fit this post...

I’m too nervous for the MRI to write a post about anything really significant so I’m going to spend this time telling you a story.

Most of you know that I have this thing for my chai tea latte that I must have every day 365 days a year.  Well, almost 365 days a year.  Now, that tea is a special tea that is only available at the Nordstrom, In-House Cafe.  It’s not like any other chai tea I’ve tasted.  It’s vanilla.  It’s not spiced (yuck!).  And it is very, very sweet.  It’s the one thing I would not give up for my diet.  So, yeah, I love this stuff.

For a long time, I’ve been going to the same coffee shop where I get my tea every day.  They all know me there.  The thing is, that now that the little guy is in school, I’ve been able to go get my tea before 9 a.m. which means that the mall is very quiet and none of the stores (except for now because it’s Christmas season) are usually open.

The only people who are in the mall at that time are workers and walkers.  The walkers are usually geriatric.  Of the many geriatrics in the mall, early in the morning, there is one couple that I have seen there for a long time.  We never spoke or said hello but somehow or other, a few months back, we started nodding at each other in the mornings when I would come in for tea.

Eventually, the nodding progressed to a hello.  Now, this couple is just the sweetest little couple you could imagine.  He has grey hair and a walker and is usually dressed in a nice v-neck, argyle-patterned sweater and dress slacks.   He is not overweight or underweight but looks very average. She has white hair, all dolled up in a nice 40’s hair style.  She usually wears a cute little button polyester-cotton type jacket with buttons in a shade of red or plum.  She wears little wire rimmed glasses and is always, always smiling and looks like a trim little Mrs. Santa Claus.

The husband stopped me one day and asked me my name.  They introduced themselves.  We made small talk and I left.  We spent another week saying hello and then the weirdest thing happened.  The old man told me to “come here” and he gave me a huge bear hug.  Now, keep in mind that I hardly know these people.  But the old man is actually on oxygen, although given the squeeze he administers, it is clear he is not a weak person.

It was at this point, that he told me he is called “The Mall Hugger” and he hugs everyone he knows.  I never saw this happen before. I was caught off guard when it finally happened to me.  After I became a victim of “The Mall Hugger”, I saw him give a similar hug to one of the girls in the coffee shop that I know very well.

Now, here’s the deal.  I’m not a “huggy” kind of person.  Sure, I’m all about virtual hugs in the virtual world to people I know and understand what things they may be going through.  I’m not even sure if I were to see these people in real life, that we would all be doing all the ((Hugs)) we do online, although probably because there is a reason for them.

The Mall Hugger just hugs in greeting, as the way he is.  I’m not comfortable with this.  But I feel like a donkey’s rear end because I just don’t want to be part of the “mall hugger” experience.  I even tried taking Jessica with me one day.  By being in conversation, I hoped that “the Mall Hugger” would leave me alone, but I swear, Jessica did not keep the conversation going enough and he got me anyway.  (She says she was just running away because she did not want to become a new victim.)

Not helpful that day...

Don’t get me wrong.  I like this couple – as acquaintances, people who I see every day.  That does not mean I want to hug them every day.  But the old man is on oxygen.  He has a walker!  How can I deny him a simple but forceful “bear hug”?

My solution?  Avoidance.  Yeah, yeah, it’s lame.  But I see these people all the time.  (I thought it was daily but since I’ve been plotting out the avoidance, I’ve come to learn through reverse-stalking that they are there only a couple days a week).

You see, there are secret passages through the back entrances of the mall for employees (of which I am aware from years of having to get my tea, very early in the morning while in trials and having learned this through special friends…) I’ve been taking these back passages and sneaking in to get my tea when I am on “mall hugger” high alert.  I take the back passage and sneak into the coffee shop through a side door behind the area where they are usually seated.

The secret passageways.

I don’t want to offend them, but I don’t want the hug.  This is the best I’ve got.  Other than telling them I have some sort of disease, I think this is the only way to achieve my goal of getting my tea and avoiding the hug…  If someone has a more brilliant idea, or wishes to openly chastise me for my lameness – I leave it to you to do so in the comments…

And that’s all I got – for today.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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12 Responses to The Mall Hugger.

  1. SO disappointed to find you aren’t a hugger! ‘Cause I could just hug you up one side and down the other. ((airhug))

  2. blogginglily says:

    I don’t like hugs either. My in-laws are huggers AND kissers. They’ve made their peace with me not being a kisser, and I’ve made my peace with them hugging all the damn time. . . compromise.

  3. Grace says:

    “Reverse-stalking.” I’m LMAO at the hilarity of your predicament. Skulking around the bowels of the mall just to avoid a hug from an old man with an oxygen tank!! Bwahahahaha!! (sorry)

  4. Lana Rush says:

    Oh Karen – I’m afraid I’m a hugger, too! But I don’t accost strangers in the mall – just friends who I know don’t mind. I promise to respect your space if we ever meet IRL but I’ll at least have to pat your arm…. 🙂

  5. Tootleslady says:

    You found the most HIDEOUS picture of me that exists!!! For that, I’m telling the mall hugger about your secret passage!

  6. Jen says:

    Ha ha…too funny! I would probably do the same thing. Avoid avoid avoid. But that sounds like one deliciious cup o tea! Wonder if they have that at all Nordstroms?

  7. Broot says:

    That reminds me of another RSA talk where they discussed types of relationships. I shall find it. Perhaps it shall distract you a little more from the three letter thing we aren’t mentioning at the moment. The bit I’m talking about isn’t until nearly the 5 minute mark somewhere, so stick with it! 🙂

  8. Lizbeth says:

    OMG, you need to plant a microchip that old dude and then get an app and see where he is so you can totally avoid him. I can have Alex help you with that. 😉

    Yeah, I’d so be in the bowels of the mall to avoid him. I’m all for a good hug but if you freeze up like a popsicle when he hugs you, he should get the hint. Till then stalk the back halls baby!

  9. Teresa says:

    LOL! What a dilemma? I’m a hugger too so I am of no help.
    Thanks for the laugh. In Cambodia today.

  10. Karla (Mom2MissK) says:

    You know how you are always ready to speak up for T? Well, you need to speak up for yourself, lady! The mall hugger did not get to be the age he is without understanding that some people have different feelings. Just tell him that hugs make you very uncomfortable and offer a handshake instead. I’m sure he will understand!

  11. ElizOF says:

    Oh boy, after my post on happy hugs now I read this and it makes me laugh out loud… So, would it kill you to simply let him know that hugging is not your thing? … in a more diplomatic way? Please let him know so you can continue to enjoy your trips to the mall. 🙂

  12. okay, you crack me up! I read this some time ago, but wasn’t quite up to commenting. You did make me giggle though, so thanks for that. I too, am not a hugger. Unless it’s my kids and I’m like Elmira from Warner Bros. I like internet hugs as a way of expressing affection for someone I don’t know in real life, but still inspires and uplifts me. **hugs** 😉

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