ad a waking dream today. Woke up remembering a small game store in Cincinnati I went to in the mid-seventies. Small little shop on a twisty downtown street. My friends would pile into my old VW and rattle down there. In the packed shop with its game-stuffed shelves, little Marilyn (how we all had crushes on her) would talk about the latest games (and old favorites still in circulation).
I’d nearly forgotten all about that.
It’s strange, these little shops that the internet has rolled over.
I remember when there were three hobby shops within two miles of my Orlando house. And all of them had coffee pots heating every Saturday morning. I’d wander into my favorite (the Train Depot), not to buy but likely to browse. I’d sip a cup of coffee and bump into half the members of my model railroad club (who’d come in to do likewise). There was chatting and story-telling, all sorts of casual fun. I remember some old guy talking about his B-25 getting shot down over Germany. Yes, those were the days, and such days are no longer available on the internet. A chat room has nothing on it.
And bookstores. There was a time when, for a reader like myself, you had to earn finding a true treasure. In London, I’d always make the bookstore rounds. I’d wander the transportation section (for train books) and the sci-fi (for just that) and occasionally find something out of print. Once, I found a short story my father had told me about when I was a child. I could barely wait until I returned home to give to him – see? I remembered! But now, with everything on Amazon, it’s just not the same.
Sure, I could tell you that you have products which are, overall, are far more available. I can find all sorts of things on the web (and with places like Shapeways, I can have special model railroad elements 3-D printed on demand). I can find lost books on Project Gutenberg. Yes, there is so much online now, so many things.
Except people. And the physical surroundings of a small shop and a warm cup of coffee.
It is the world the internet made. And I’m not sure if it’s any sort of improvement.
>>>AND, HAVING SAID THAT, HERE ARE MY BOOKS ON AMAZON AND OTHER PLACES. BUY ONE AND I’LL GET PAID DIRECTLY INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT. I WON’T BE ABLE TO PERSONALLY THANK YOU AND TAKE YOUR CASH, BUT SO IT GOES<<<