It’s my birthday next week. I’ve been trying to think of what I want to do. I have an offer to go see a live performance in Raleigh and it would be fun but it isn’t something I thought of myself. I tend to think of birthdays as days best spent in purely egocentric pursuits. They are, after all, all about one’s self.
I was telling deadblob that I want to go to an arcade.
I want to go to an arcade of our youth, though. I want to go back in time to Space Port at Blue Ridge Mall: shitty little Blue Ridge Mall, that now has nothing in it but a Kmart and a JC Penney and an incongruously opulent Belk next to the corpse of a Sears, and a police substation where Space Port used to be. I want to go plunk tokens into games in the dark, in a place my parents have told me is a waste of time, with games I do not even begin to comprehend and people I do not know.
I tried to go take pictures of Blue Ridge Mall last year when I was in Hendersonville for my 20 year high school reunion but they came out blurry and depressing and I never posted them anywhere. The notion of an indoor shopping mall in Hendersonville of all places was so novel when I was a child. I recall the Kmart opened first, before the rest of the mall was finished, and people went to the Kmart just so they could stare down the darkened concourse at that unfinished space and fill it up with whatever they hoped it would be. The Kmart is still there but the rest of the mall has been turned into something like a beige snowscape: an arctic horizon in a blizzard, all depth perception gone, all sense of direction lost, all hope gone with it. The Kmart has somehow managed to serve as both midwife and psychopomp to a generation – two – of economic turnover. It delivered what seemed a death blow to Hendersonville’s downtown but now Main Street is more alive than ever.
It isn’t only people who have their Saturn’s Return.
Anyway, yeah, I kind of want to go to an arcade. Maybe I want to go bowling? I dunno. Maybe I’ll just go for a hike.