5000 Katy Mills Circle
Katy, TX 7749
April 2004–The largest mall in the world, and I worked there. In Katy, Texas, at the intersection of I-10 and Pin Oak Road, 25 miles west of downtown Houston, laid Katy Mills Mall. A retail and entertainment destination featuring 200 realtors; including manufacturer’s and retail outlets, off-price retailers, category dominant stores, dining and entertainment venues. I want to talk about this mall, because even though it is a very good place to go, personally it was much more than just a mall. When people see Katy Mills they see the obvious and only the things that would attract them there. They see 1.3 million square feet plus 2.5 million square feet of out parcel development on 640 acres, enough to hold 3.5 Astrodomes. They see a year round, one-level, continuous one-mile indoor course with wood tile and carpeted floors which are 145,000 square feet, and enough for 73 homes or 30 basketball courts.
They hear motivational music on Mills TV, which can threat their mind and their bodies while they shop, and could also be used as healthy rewarding exercise program. They see incentive prizes and discounts at many of their fine stores. Unique architecture and bright colors, oversized features and 50 foot tall entrance features, not to mention their interior which is divided into seven neighborhoods, each with its own combination of colors, sculptures, patterns, sounds, and lighting. Even though I am not going to talk much about the mall in a whole it was still one place in the mall that my teenage years linked from and that was the start of trouble.
It all started when I turned 16, I was in desperate need of a job and I needed one fast. Some people think that the place where I worked was just any ordinary place, and to the ordinary eye that may have been so. But in my eyes that was far from the truth. See the ordinary eye saw The Great Steak and Potato Co. with this great big menu that had different types of sandwiches, potatoes, salads and the best lemonade you ever tasted.
To me it was like a small portion of the mall that turned into the whole entire mall. That store was the only thing that existed to me in Katy Mills Mall. Even though I saw everything around me and may have visited the other stores, they meant nothing to me. All I ever saw was the food court and everything that laid in my presence from my restaurant. That carousel that was in the center of the food court, the restaurants that were on the other side of the food court. I use to get so tired of looking at those other restaurants across from us too because they were all so colorful. Even though I was in the food court, I felt like I worked in a toy store and everything was so happy and playful. There were rides in the middle of the food court and little games like the machine where you try and win a stuffed animal, or the game to test your strength. The stage in the food court didn’t make it any better because it got annoying at times. It was this huge black platform that reminded you of that movie in Selena, when she got outside and she was performing in front of all of her fans. The speakers that fell from the ceiling and hung over the stage, the speakers outweighed the entire food court and when it was time of us to work we could not even hear our customers. To me it was like the life of the mall. That is where people went to come and relax, eat, rest, talk, meet people, or just to get something to drink from all the shopping that they were doing.
That is one thing that I really enjoyed, the fact that people came to the food court, the place where I worked and chilled. So, I took advantage of that opportunity. I used Katy Mills as my escape and eventually that mall became my life. I petitioned to work at my job for 40+ hours a week, while still going to school. I use to go to work early, left work late and tried to live my life to the best of my ability. I had that job now and it seemed like everyone liked me better because I had job and more money. I was talking to people when they passed by my job that I went to school with that I wouldn’t normally communicate with outside of class. I really like that, friends would come and I wanted to work more because I never had a lot of friends. Things began to become rituals. I was so called friends it leads to me every so often staying a little late after work. Well, I got so use to staying out late and going into work early, that the job was no longer my obligation or just a place of employment, it became my life. So, I got friends, then things began to get serious, since I was rarely at home, I began to use drugs. My friends would always go chill and do drugs then one day the came to the mall and stood right in front of those glass windows in front of my job and offered drugs to me. I thought to myself that I couldn’t really hurt anything if I used them right. So, I bought the drugs and went to my little hiding spot. There was long tunnel behind the restaurant doors. It traveled all the way to the other side of the mall. Down the tunnel, right in the middle of the mall I stood almost everyday smoking weed. That was almost every kid’s first drug. When I took my breaks and things of that nature I would go to that dark and deserted hiding place and just blow my life away and feel good about it. Slowly, I wanted more.
Eventually, a lot of things began to rise at school and I wanted to become apart of them. Our homecoming dance was about to start and there was this really cute guy that went to Kerr High School and I oh so desperately had to go to homecoming with him. His name was Isaac Ola. He was whom I wanted and since I didn’t have very much that I wanted back then he was whom I had to get. So, he came up to the mall one day and yes that is where we went out. From that point on, that is where we always met up until homecoming. He met me in the front of my job and I was so ready. When my mom dropped me off all I saw was magic. This is the first time out of every time that I pass through to get to work was outstandingly beautiful. To my left were the lights Books-A-Million and to my right was Boss, an appliance store. There were poles everywhere and weird designs that covered the front of the sidewalks and the entrance. You felt like you were in a circus with the lights all shining on you. As I walked through the middle entrance which automatically opened, the most annoying sounds came from the speakers above. They loudly shouted “You are passing through entry 2 into neighborhood 2 sponsored by Memorial Herman Katy Hospital”, then as you would walk a little bit father you would be like somewhat in a holding tank because there were doors in front of you waiting for you to go inside and doors behind you waiting for you to exit outside. As
As I proceeded I almost bumped into a car machine, where mother and guardians would purchase little cars so their child can sit down while they shop. As I glided to my left I continued to walk forward. Looking at all the accessories and amenities that Katy Mils had. I never really paid any attention because I was always in my own little world. The mall was shaped like a race track, there were ATM machines everywhere and bubble gum machines everywhere as well. As my attention fell from the mall, I finally saw who I had been waiting to see. Right in front of Great Steak, my job, was Isaac. Life couldn’t’ have gotten any better because I felt perfect. Well after homecoming he would show up sometimes just to see me. Everything I wanted to do, I knew I could not do it at home because my parents were so strict. So, I told myself if you want to get high, if you want to make extra money on the side, if you want to get away from home, if you want to see Isaac, then you have to take it a step father. So, I did, I got another job. I was in Katy Mills so much when I had days off people were like what happened to you yesterday, why were you at work? I liked the attention that I received at my job.
I started skipping school, with no transportation, so I would walk to Katy Mills just to skip.
My stories could go on and on about everything I experienced in that mall because 3 years passed by and I just quit a couple of days ago. Therefore, as you can tell, I can’t just look at Katy Mills like everyone else does. I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking or because that mall was my second home. I went to that mall to live and just to do what I thought I needed to do. I went to smoke weed and I got high. I went to get money and ended up coming out with extra advantages. I went to see Isaac and I did at every opportunity I wanted to. I wanted to see my friends and when I was at work I saw them I wanted to leave home and ran right to my comfort zone. I wanted to do everything and with no supervision or guidance that mall was my answer or maybe not. Now that everything is clear to me, I can tell you that Katy Mills is not just a place to go and enjoy the games and pizza, the clothes or the adventure it has installed in it. To me it is a place that has raised me from my adolescent, clueless and troublesome years and shifted me into my independent, strong woman hood. Thank that Katy Mills, I have stopped looking for myself found myself and thanks to God escaped my unknown escape to start my known life.