The other day I noticed that the laundromat that was at the end of my street for as long as I can remember, has closed down. I realized that it was the last remnant from my growing up, of what used to be at the end of the street, all the other businesses that were next to it have long since closed and changed into other things. There was the laundromat, where as a youngster I would sometimes go to with a friend to play whatever videogame it was they had there and get some candy out of the machine and watch a little TV too. My family never did laundry there, we had a machine at home. Next to this was the Martin gas station which was on the corner of my street and Ogden Ave. Sometimes I would get a pop or candy at this place when hanging out at the place next door, which was Just Games. Just Games was an arcade, and I ended up spending a great deal of my youth there playing videogames and pinball (which was such a big part of my life I ended up getting a job in the videogame industry). I would go there almost every day after school and all day saturdays. Right next door to that, in the same complex was Rose Records, where, when in 6th grade, I started buying AC/DC records there, which evolved into buying any and all punk records that would trickle in through that place. On the other side of the Record store was a mattress store, which I never once went into, and on the end was the adult book store, which I also never went in but when I was 21 I was offered a job there when I worked at the gas station (which had since become a 76 station). I didn’t take the job at the “fuck store” for a variety of reasons that need no explanation.
This little corner of DG was such a huge part of my growing up. I made so many friends at the arcade and even the record store. One by one they all closed up. So when I saw the laundromat, the last holdout of the old neighborhood, had closed, I felt a little sad, like the final chapter of a book was finished and the book forever closed. I realized just how long I have lived here, and that I have seen places come and go that a lot of people who live around me now probably have no idea about. It probably means I have lived here too long, and I should probably move somewhere else like everyone I know has. I mean, I live in the same house I grew up in, the difference being is now I own the house and live there by myself. I don’t have a problem with it or want to move, but I think that I am just now realizing how unusual it is to have spent my entire 33 years in the exact same house, never having lived anywhere else. I don’t know anyone else who can say the same thing.
Much like my favorite hangouts at the end of my street, people have come and gone from my life just the same. Friends move away, some of them out of state. Some people get married and then no longer have time for me anymore, or suddenly only hang out with other married couples. Some have good intentions of still seeing their friends, but then have kids and then you hear from them only via email a few times a year. Some friends just decide they aren’t going to be your friend anymore and stop talking to you for no good reason. Girlfriends come and go (in my case they go more often that they appear these days), never to be heard from again once they are gone. Yet here I remain in the same place I’ve always been while they all leave. Sometimes I feel like I’m just here, watching the world go by, perhaps even passing me by, but mostly I like where I’m at, and where I live, I just wish that I wasn’t here by myself, and that just once, my favorite hangout, or more importantly my favorite person, wouldn’t close down or leave me.