January 16, 2019

Pharmacy On The Corner of Fourth and Main


Sitting on the spider webbed cracked concrete ledge in front of the window of the old rundown pharmacy with our backs resting against the dirty glass that hadn’t been cleaned since the Truman administration...in my old hometown that I loved so much, I’ve been back once since and that was for the funeral of a friend who still lived there and hung around with the same people he hung around with in high school...how quaint...and unimaginative...the one where I used to buy all my 45 r.p.m. records for something like 79 cents...all those 45’s that I got in my garage now in an old trunk...and I keep saying I’m gonna buy a turntable and listen to them again like I used to...but the turntable never gets bought and the records haven’t spun, spanned or spinned in years...the rundown pharmacy that wasn’t as nice as the newer one down the street but it had a certain charm of an old relative that nobody liked except you...only half of the lights actually worked and the tile floor had decades of yellowing old wax on them and there were sticky spots on the floor that never got mopped...cars passed by with people grimly looking ahead and not seeing anything...driving by the calliope of green, yellow and red lights--green again, yellow again, red again...or cute girls in cars that we waved at like they would want anything to do with a couple of punks whose only method of transportation was a 10 speed bicycle or our own two feet...if they agreed to go out with us, we’d have to go out in the street and beg for money to spend on them...people on their way to work or going home from work or maybe not going anywhere except in the fertile imagination of their minds--piloting their machines of chrome, rubber and steel...passing Italian Beef restaurants, banks, clothing stores, kiddie stores and the ice cream shop that we considered ourselves too cool for but went there anyway...passing the summer days away, 9 blocks from home--but it felt like miles when it’s your first taste of freedom--away from the the helicopter parents that kept you confined to a block or two around your house when you were younger...I don’t know if kids still got that issue or not...maybe they’re more independent now...Mom working, Dad working, latch key kids...who bothers to watch them?...or it’s karate lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics, soccer, and a million other distractions and babysitters real and electronic...now there’s a mass murderer and child kidnapper around every corner and you can’t be too safe...and just down the street from the aforementioned pharmacy was the old bowling alley with twelve lanes and bowling balls that hopped the turnstiles and took a subway system where the balls boarded and then get off at the same stop every time...at least it used to be a bowling alley...later it was reincarnated as a spinning silver ball disco that was about 53 studios away from Studio 54...just a bunch of awkward teenagers and young people who tried to imitate the dancers on Soul Train or American Bandstand and then went out and snorted cocaine in the parking lot in dark cars or passed out from having drunk too much Canadian Club...after that phase, it was a restaurant that I was never in and never heard a good word about...then one day, the big old steel ball of doom came along and leveled the building into piles of rubble...bowling alley rubble, disco rubble, restaurant rubble, and the rats had to find a new place to live...as for the old pharmacy, eventually it curled up and died and became a resale store--selling stuff somebody else didn’t want anymore...that didn’t last too long...I moved away and when I came back it was subdivided and it now was a tattoo shop, a massage parlor, and a Turkish food carry out place...all the necessities of modern day life ya know.

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