I've discovered a strange phenomenon. The downtown Salt Lake malls are divided according to personality, background, dress standards, and probably a lot of other artificial measurements. It seems almost as if the people had been told by some authority, perhaps the state Legislature, which mall they should attend.

Maybe they even have passes, or in some cases, lifetime memberships.I have been frequenting both Crossroads Plaza and ZCMI Center at lunch time, and after the third or fourth day, a great truth emerged. Crossroads is flashy, stylish, energetic and lively. ZCMI is staid, conservative, purposeful and goal-oriented.

At ZCMI you see lots of morose-looking, clean-shaven men dressed in short-sleeved white shirts and plain ties eating lunch from a brown bag. There are also a number of people who are more casually dressed, but dressed for work, who seem preoccupied with their day's activity. There is a sense of determination and dependability in the group.

At Crossroads, the men are often bearded. They are younger and sport suspenders and long-sleeved, striped shirts. There are also large numbers of enthuasiastic teenagers who are either shopping or just hanging out. There are more Levi's and miniskirts and highly fashionable women in heels who work in corporate offices many floors up. They seem in the mood for a break.

At ZCMI the women often wear flats and pants, and they carry bags and paraphernalia. Invariably, they are hassled. There is more worry in the air. They have a lot to do and very little time to do it in. Those who are more dressed up seem equally intent on a goal.

The decor is flashier at Crossroads, and the design is circular and unpredictable, meaning you have to constantly watch the directional signs to tell where you are. (Sometimes you end up exiting on the wrong street!)

At ZCMI you always know where you are. Everything is straight line and one-dimensional. It means that the ZCMI Mall has a feeling of spaciousness that is absent from Crossroads.

ZCMI Mall is black and white. Crossroads is technicolor. Or maybe it is just colorized. But the difference is dramatic.

At Crossroads, there are many types of food emporiums, in fact one huge area with every type of food imaginable.

At ZCMI, the food is less concentrated and less obvious, as if it were less important to the people there. In fact, many are probably practicing self-discipline and trying to lose weight. In short, you feel inspired to eat at Crossroads and at ZCMI you can usually resist. Or you just forget about it.

At ZCMI it seems that everyone you see is en route somewhere, and if they are eating, it is usually 25(CT) ice cream cones, the only sin they can afford today. The ZCMI people are probably the ones who are keeping our economy going. They don't have time for too much leisure and will feel guilty if they stay too long at lunch.

At Crossroads, there is a festive spirit, and people seem to be looking for different kinds of food, or looking for people to share it with. They are talking animatedly and planning what to do after work.

It may be that I am the only one who has noticed this strange downtown division. It may be that those who have discovered it are either afraid to reveal it, or afraid to trust their own judgment.

In any case, I'm happy with the discovery because I can frequent one or the other, depending on my mood. If I am feeling upbeat, frivolous and enthusiastic, I go to Crossroads for lunch. If, on the other hand, I wake up serious, determined to get a lot of work done, and unable to spend a lot of time, I go to ZCMI.

It is always possible, of course, that I could awake depressed and purposely go to Crossroads in an effort to lift my spirits. Or my energy level could be running so high that I couldn't stand the strain, and I would choose to go to ZCMI Mall just to slow down, or make sure I stay on the straight and narrow.

Anyhow, whoever thought of two distinct personalities had a good idea.