She: What’s your favorite Santa Barbara mall?
Z: Can I pretend not to care?
Z: I’m going to go with the incredibly not obvious: La Cumbre Plaza.
She: Seriously? I thought there was no local love left for that place, since it’s been hijacked by über-üp-scale out-of-town shops.
Z: I have no idea what stores are left there, but the parking is awesome. By far the easiest mall to park in. It’s all about the parking.
She: I’ll give it that. And, that’s consistent with your values.
Z: I also have fond, painful teen angst memories of walking down the La Cumbre Plaza promenade and being hugely self-conscious. It was the local “Valley Girl” Galleria of my early ‘80s.
She: Me, too. I remember shopping at Diane’s, which was the height of chic in my junior high days. And taking the bus from my house, which let you off right in front of Brink’s Deli.
Z: Brinks was Subway before Subway. Wasn’t there some scandal associated with that place?
She: Yeah, and it had nothing to do with Brink’s trucks, or the bus stop right in front of the place, either.
Z: Do you think junior high kids still take the bus to the mall?
She: Doubtful, but maybe. There’s an article in Sunday’s L.A. Times about “free-spending teens return to malls.”
Z: If they’re free spending then they’re probably arriving by limousine or helicopter — and probably not going to La Cumbre Plaza.
She: Yeah, downtown is more likely to have the Abercrombie & Fitch crowd. Even though La Cumbre Plaza has all of these pricey stores now, somehow Paseo Nuevo still feels more upscale. I think it must be the red tile roofs, the fountains and the tasteful tropical flowers.
Z: As opposed to the scraggly putting green in front of Robinson’s at La Cumbre Plaza?
She: It’s Macy’s now. It hasn’t been Robinson’s for a few decades.
Z: Next you’re going to tell me that Piccadilly Square is gone.
She: Sadly, yes.
Z: Ott’s Oldtown Mall? That where I got a fire truck for Christmas one year. My mom thought she was clever by spelling out the words to my dad, but little did they know I could spell already.
She: And you were only 17. They must have been so proud.
Z: What about the Fairview Shopping Center?
She: Still there. We had dinner at the Nugget the other night.
Z: I thought the Nugget was in Summerland, with all of those antique stores I’m scared to go in.
She: It is. But it’s in Goleta now, too. Although, really, it’s in the Calle Real strip mall.
Z: Parking’s really easy in Goleta. At Camino Real, too. Goleta’s good. That’s my top criteria for actually going to the mall — whether it’s easy to park.
She: I thought your only criteria for going to the mall was when I forced it on you.
Z: That, too. I mean what’s the motivation for going to the mall as a 40-something man? It’s not like the free-spending teens are going to give me their phone numbers.
She: As if it ever was. Besides, today they would just text you to meet them at Starbucks.
Z: I asked our 10-year-old, Koss, what his favorite mall was, mostly because I was curious to see if he had any idea what a mall was.
Z: He said Five Points.
Z: He said, and I quote, “Good food, bad parking.”
She: These are his concerns? Food and parking? You’ve ruined him.
Z: I am so proud.
She: Yes, dear.
— Tell She and Z what you think about the local malls at firstname.lastname@example.org.