I heard online that there were shootings in my old home town at a mall near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. ksl.com has the news, you can read about it there.
In light of the news from Salt Lake, where I used to live, I want to talk about Trolley Square.
I have been in every corner of that mall 100 times. I have taken an embarrassingly large number of dates to the same restaurants there, like the Desert Edge Brewery, Hard Rock, Rodizio Grill, Green Street and the Old Spaghetti Factory. I have gone to Sacred Roots for hair cuts many many times...even before they moved to the other side of the mall. I have holiday shopped there for every holiday...I have "back to school" shopped..."spend my bonus" shopped and every other kind of shopped there.
I have fed the fish, saw tons of bands play, gotten a "couples massage" there with my girlfriend at the time...so I have been naked in Trolley Square (back in the Message Therapy place and under a sheet, don't ya know).
Not only have I brought a few dates there, I have eaten in every restaurant that ever was in Trolley Square at least once and some many many times. I have bought something in almost every store at some point.
My bank was there for many years. I used to imagine the place as a garage for the trolley trains of long ago, and marvelled at how the remodelling was done. I have gazed into the exposed brick and beams.
I have been drunk of my ass and sang Karaoke and had the time of my life flirting with a lot of different women there at Trolley Square. I have visited friends at work, saw many movies (is there still a theater IN the mall?) I have bought chocolates and earrings for girlfriends there.
I have performed 3 songs at Hard Rock Cafe during a musicians conference I attended. I have seen Alphaville do a concert outside the west entrance. You know, "Forever Young" and so forth.
I have met up with family members and friends I hadn't seen in years there. I have parked in a good number of the parking spaces at Trolley Square at one time or another.
I have had hot wings and beer under the Trolley Square water tower, by which you can tell the weather (did you know?).
I have fallen in and even out of love right there in Trolley Square.
Trolley Square has always been a place for pleasure, enjoyment, fulfillment, relationships, reunions, self-improvement, entertainment, drinking and dining.
I feel enormous sadness and shock at the senseless killing that was random and brutal that took place at the mall.
My heart goes out to the families of those who died and to all those who were injured and traumatized by these events.
I know it's early days and I am far away so that lessens the immediate impact for me, yet, I hope that the community can heal and that the actions of one criminal will not stop this place from being somewhere the community gathers and lives in peace and joy.
There are playgrounds and city parks in Belgium and France where war once came through, and violence once held sway.
Now these places are for people to relax, feel at peace, see the ducks and laugh, play sing, dance and be a community.
I think of Trolley Square as a kind of oasis of culture and life in Salt Lake and I hope it can remain that for many years to come.