I don't know how many times I have used the line, "change is bad" in the course of my blog but it's been more than a few. Change can happen on any level and this is something that others not on the autism spectrum might have a hard time grasping. Sure, a change like a favorite food going away can cause a rather intense situation as a long time ago my favorite cereal was Circus Fun and it was discontinued and I can remember my dad telling me he went to a dozen grocery stores trying to find it but it was gone. Then there are other changes that don't have any direct impact on myself and yet my response was great such as the day Bob Barker left The Price is Right, or when a business that is on my daily commute moves or goes out of business.
My world is one of sameness which means if everything can remain as it is today then there would be no change and no processing of the change. Also, if things stay the same and places stay the same memories will always be fresh. When I go to a place that has memories tied to it the sensation is as if all those points in time are right now. I guess, in a way, I do have a fear of forgetting dates, times, and people.
In the past few weeks there was a major change of a place I used to go to. Many of you, here in America, I'm sure at some point in time, went there to rent the newest movie, or if you were like me to rent a videogame. Yes, BlockBuster video went out of business and I did everything I could to not consciously accept this. All this changed a few days ago when I saw a certain sign. I'll get to that sign in a bit, but why is BlockBuster so important to me? After all, it was just a business more than willing to take your money and keep the product, right?
My first memory of BlockBuster was after one of my dad's church services (he had a church in Indianapolis as a pastor) and this new place opened up called BlockBuster so we went and the selection was, well, awful. It was three or so years later that we would go back to one and there was a ritual that kept me looking ever forward during the time in school and that was Friday afternoon. Every Friday, after I had endured the schoolweek, I'd get to go to BlockBuster and rent a game for the weekend.
This Friday tradition continued on when we moved to Saint Louis and in fact the first store I ever got anything at was a BlockBuster near the home we moved to when my dad bought me a Sega Genesis. Fridays continued to be great and the staff at this one would talk with me for a very long time about games. I can remember one worker who knew more about games than I did and she and I, and sometimes my dad, would talk about Mario, or Link, and the adventures that lie ahead in future games. She was a college student and eventually left, but each time I would drive by that location it was as if time was still 1994 and everything just seemed right.
Time moved on and eventually I no longer rented anything and as technology advanced, and I discovered Netflix, BlockBuster, sadly, became obsolete for me and obviously countless others because just in the past few weeks their locations ceased operations.
One thing I struggle with greatly in life, as do many others on the autism spectrum, is change and beyond that I struggle with endings and finality. Take that cereal, I was maybe four or five years old when it went off the market and I still remember the sensation that someone took a vacuum to my lungs when I was told it was no more. While the world is ever changing, and things we use today, and shops we frequent today, may be gone tomorrow, I want things to remain the same. What is just a store for you might have a decade of memories for me and when there is an end it feels as if there is a gigantic, gaping hole in my memories.
As I said, I tried to ignore this passing but I drove by a empty BlockBuster the other day and there was this sign. Of all signs I've ever seen this had the most dire of statements. Just the statement alone, even out of this context, would give me problems because I struggle with the concept of forever. If you put the words change, and forever together that is a bad combo, and this sign, well, I'll let it do the talking because moving forward there's a whole generation that won't share in my yearning for Fridays and the time spent driving to BlockBuster wondering what new games were out and a whole generation won't know the wonderful smell every BlockBuster had. In the end, and this is an end, another part of life has changed and is gone.