Time has a way of romanticizing the past.
I was reminded of this recently as I walked down the avenue, not far from the University of Washington. Bulldog News was still doing a brisk business as was the shoe cottage only hipsters could appreciate. Overpriced parking lots are all that divide one business from the next.
I crossed the street so I could take in the aroma of the walk-up gyro joint. I recall the gyros being as good as the service was poor. The Tower Records was gone as were most of the panhandlers. My friend tells me the police have cleaned up the area. I can’t helped but think they chased some of the personality away as well.
My first apartment in Seattle was a block off the avenue. I didn’t have much money, but I did have a lot of free time to explore. Twice a week I’d hit the avenue and spend hours listening to music in the used record shops. On my way out one afternoon, I asked the guy at the counter what album was playing over the speakers. He tried to ignore me, but when he realized I wasn’t leaving without an answer he said, “That’s the Velvet Underground, and how does anyone not know that?”
I’ve since gained a better appreciation of that band to the point that I realize the scolding I received that day was deserved.
As I returned to my car I passed the ATM, and a nervous empty feeling hit me which makes no sense since I seldom use at ATM anymore, and haven’t used this particular one for over 16 years. But I can picture my much younger self standing in a line of students praying to God that I have twenty bucks to last me till Friday.
My life sucked but I was too dumb to know it. I was living on the faith that tomorrow would be better than today.
And in hindsight, it usually was.