Photo by Christian WalshThe Irvine Spectrum. Kid, who reveals himself to be 16 years old, is worldly, in that innocent way of teenagers—Hilfiger-boxered ass hanging out of Lucky Brand jeans; Ralph Lauren T-shirt that reads, "Ralph Lauren" in 164-point type; Etnies skate shoes.
OC Weekly: Rank the best malls for hanging out. Kid: Does the Spectrum count? Sure.
This is kind of hard because I don't really hang out anymore.
You're hanging out here.
No, we [indicates two glum-looking friends] just had dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Now we're going to a movie.
How much will that set you back?
Maybe $20. Maybe $25 if we go to Diedrich [Coffee] for a mocha.
But this isn't hanging out?
What's hanging out?
Your mom drops you and some friends off at the mall, and some other kid's mom picks you up, but she's late so you end up just hanging out.
Doing . . . ?
Looking for lost change. Sitting around. Going in stores and trying stuff.
What's the best store for trying stuff?
I don't know. Like music stores. You can listen to CDs. Or check out clothes. I don't know. [One of his friends observes that Brookstone, the gadget store, is pretty interesting.] Yeah, Brookstone is pretty cool. We give ourselves massages and look at the stuff. But we don't do that much anymore.
Is hanging out an age thing, then?
Yeah, like a junior-high age thing. When you don't have a car. In high school, kids get cars, and they just go to friends' houses where alcohol flows like water.
So when you get a car, you're kind of over the mall thing?
Way over it.
So why are you here?
Dinner, movie, mocha, girls.
Tell me about the girls.
I don't know. What are you, a perv?
What if I was? [Brandish notepad and pen as emblems of my non-perviness] So, the girls: You're looking to hook up?
Not really. Just looking.
Like window shopping?
Looking without actually buying.
Yeah, not buying, just, you know, following them around.
What happens if they stop and you catch them?
We keep walking, I guess.
How long will you walk?
I don't know. As long as it takes.
Walking and . . . ?
Looking, I guess.
So, just walking around, looking around. [. . .] So movies are big?
Yeah, movies are big.
What are you seeing tonight? Spider-Man. What about the other malls?
South Coast Plaza and Metro Pointe—there's no real hanging out there. That's for serious shopping. You need money. You can actually get kind of hassled there.
Hassled by other kids?
No, the cops—security.
What do they say?
Stuff like, "Are you shopping? Where's your parents?"
And you say?
"Of course we're shopping. Our parents are at home. Where are yours?"
How does that go over with the cops?
They want to know where our shopping bags are.
I mean asking them about their parents.
Oh, they ignore it, mostly.
How about the Block at Orange?
The Block is cool. Unless you've got a car.
You've got a car?
Do you need money to hang out?
Money? No. I mean, it's cool to have money—it's good and all—but if you're just hanging out, it's not that important.
When you're hanging out? [. . .] Time, I guess. Time is like your enemy. It's just a way to spend time.
That's amazing because adults are always saying they don't have any time. [. . .] But you do.
No, I'm really pretty busy, but I make time for the important things.