austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I was sitting by the telly with my brother Kenny when suddenly the penny dropped

The most curious of things existed in the large strip mall just down our street: an independent video store. Video To Go had been there ... forever, really, and stayed strong despite the fact it was a video store and this was 2015. bunny_hugger remembered how it used to be twice its current size --- the half of the store it no longer occupies is now an eyeglass vendor or something like that --- but it remained this classic independent video store, the equivalent of your local indie bookstore. She notes how it probably got support from the lack of a classic, old-style theater in the Lansing area. Local Cinephiles who wanted to see, say, the new Metropolis restoration could go to Ann Arbor ... or to Video To Go. Granted, the first time I ventured into it the TV screens were showing Encino Man. But then the last time I ventured in they were screening the ``Cape Feare'' episode of The Simpsons.

Verb tenses reveal the story. Just days after bunny_hugger rented a video (for class) there, and remarked on how healthy it looked considering it was a video store in 2015, and the afternoon after Entertainment Weekly's web site listed a bunch of video stores that were still in existence, they announced they were going out of business.

bunny_hugger stopped in their last day of regular operations, to take photographs and hear the heartbreak of people getting the news for the first time. One person even asked about getting a new rental card, to learn that they'd stopped issuing new memberships a few weeks back. The person apparently wasn't consoled by the thought she could come in the next day and buy the DVD instead.

bunny_hugger went just after work, and while I was recovering from a cold. She's annoyed that she had left a filter on her digital camera, so none of the pictures look true to the place's operating existence. I think she's unfair to herself, and that the pictures are evocative even if they are less literally true than any photographs naturally are.

I stopped in a couple times as they were clearing inventory, picking up Doctor Who episodes and stuff that piqued our curiosity. Johnny Mnemonic, for example, since the pinball game based on that movie is so baffling and apparently tied to the film's plot, but who's seen the film? The first time I went to the scavenger-days of its closing, the clerk was someone who recognized me. How? Well, she knew me because she knew bunny_hugger; she was from the local small-but-independent chain of bookstores where my love occasionally works. We had no idea she ever worked there. She was friends with some of the people on staff. Maybe she was just helping out.

Video To Go stopped renting videos the 1st of October. The 1st of November they were supposed to stop everything in their old location, and move to some temporary quarters for another two months of winding up ... we don't know what, exactly. Probably it makes sense to grab one last Christmas shopping season, selling off DVDs old and new, and even a small stock of VHS tapes, even in diminished circumstances.

We learned in its closing that the store used to occupy a whole other building in that strip mall, one that's now a restaurant we had thought had been there forever. This is how forever ends: suddenly, and with the discovery it hadn't been that long after all.

Trivia: In January 1914 Antony ``Tony'' Jannus of the Saint Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line inaugurated passenger service in a two-seat airplane. The service continued for four months and carried 1,204 passengers at $5.00 each before the airline closed up as unprofitable. Source: Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity through the First World War, Richard P Hallion.

Currently Reading: The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, John McPhee.

PS: The Set Tour, Part 7: Matrices, some sets that aren't actually common domains or ranges, but that are too useful not to mention.


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