At the Mall

November 14, 1994|By ANDREI CODRESCU

Minneapolis -- I went to the Mecca of America near Minneapolis. It's called the Mall of America. It has two freeway entrances all its own. It's the size of my hometown in Romania. It's self-sufficient.

Not only is it self-sufficient; it has everything. Clothes for the body. Shoes for the mind. Food for the hungry. A hotel for the sleepy. Action for children. Heat for the old. Roller-blading routes for the limber. Jogging space for the trim. It has a huge Lego ball that rotates while you eat. There are Lego dinosaurs and a plunging canoe for you and your date. It has its own newspaper: Best of the Mall. The news is good. Giuseppe Armani will be at Collectibles Showcase selling signed figurines. At the Tricks of the Trade Mega Event you will apply new products to your face Charles M. Schulz, the creator of ''Peanuts,'' is being honored with art.

In the center rotunda, tens of thousands of worshipers look skylightward. They point gleefully to the layers of the church. Now they spot God. It's Accessory Lady! No, it's a Schwinn bike! No, it's a Lug shoe! Whatever it is, the Mecca of America has many incarnations! The God of Shopping is bountiful! It occurs to me everything needed for life in space is here. This is Biosphere Three, the one intended for liftoff at the end of time. Today, I took a suite at the Mall of America hotel. Like a new, improved Howard Hughes, I now circle the interiors of the Mall, stopping only for a complete make-over now and then at one of the many salons. Already, there is a special population of residents, some of whom have been left over from opening day because they couldn't find the exits, and some, like me, who are moving quietly in, every day. We are monks dedicated to excess instead of asceticism. We don't live here because we hate the outdoors but because we have everything, including the outdoors, right here under our feet. And the best outdoor equipment you can imagine.

Andrei Codrescu is editor of ''Exquisite Corpse.''

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