I usually work in the afternoon or evening, but because of some employee realignment I've been asked to open the Guest Service desk at the mall a couple of days a week. The new schedule started today.
After three months at this job, I know how long it takes to get to work in the afternoon, but mornings are a big unknown. My shift starts at 9:30, technically after rush hour, but I wasn't sure about the traffic flow and didn't want to be late. This morning I allowed myself double the usual time to get there. I didn't need it; I pulled into the mall parking garage 30 minutes before I needed to clock in. What to do with all the extra time? I could join the groups of walkers in the mall, but that didn't sound appealing. The weather was too nice (brisk, but sunny) to spend any more time inside than I had to. Instead of going inside, I decided to walk around the outside of the mall.
I know that one time around the first level on the inside is approximately one mile, so I figured the outside perimeter was the same. This was an opportunity to get some great exercise! I parked in my usual area of the garage, and left my purse and lunchbox in the locked car. Instead of heading up the stairs to the mall entrance, I headed down to street level, turned left, and started my stroll.
Walking, I was able to notice things that I never see while I'm in the car, starting with the sidewalk that surrounds the entire building. The area by the parking garage was landscaped with a mixture of evergreens, ivy, and euonymus, punctuated by several spindly trees. (I suspect they don't get enough sunlight.) The other side of the building had foundation plantings of junipers and yews, but in several places there were also clusters of white asters that looked like they were newly planted. I wonder if they had just been swapped out? There were large flowerpots in front of all the doors, planted with a mixture of decorative grass and annuals.
The parking lots in front of each entrance to the mall had clusters of parked cars, but the parking lots in front of the big anchor stores were completely empty. (Their doors don't open until 10:00). As I passed by one of the restaurants, I smelled something wonderful. They must have been getting ready for lunch already.
It took me a little under 15 minutes to complete one lap around the building, and I decided to go for a second one, figuring that if I ran out of time I could always cut through the mall! On this round there was a little more activity. I saw several people standing by entrances smoking. They didn't look like mall walkers, so I suspect they were getting their nicotine fix before they started working. I completed my second lap at 9:25-just enough time to go back to the car and grab my things and clock in right on time.