I honestly don’t know how to title this post. This will be a post full of nonsense and nostalgia that is a torrential ramble from my cranium. Hopefully it will yield a nugget of cohesion that will bear fruit. If it does not, I apologize.
Yesterday was my daughter’s “half” birthday at preschool. Since her birthday is in August the preschool gives the children with summer birthdays a chance to celebrate with their friends with the “half” birthday. On these and other birthday celebration days a parent gets to come in as a parent helper (as well as every school day throughout the year, which they cycle through). My wife wet to school with my daughter with cupcakes and chocolate milk in hand and I took the day off work so I could take my son to his swimming class.
It was a great morning with my 2 year old son even though he wasn’t sure of daddy being in the pool with him when it’s usually mommy keeping him inches away from life and death. So there was a little screaming…but with two kids I’m use to that.My wife and daughter had a great day at preschool and cupcakes and chocolate milk were enjoyed by all.
Everyone was home in time for lunch and I had the grim realization that this was my daughters last “half” birthday. Next year she’ll be in a “big kid” school and once she is part of “the machine” things like “half” birthdays are left behind. Being a person with a summer birthday I know we get forgotten within the cogs of test scores and rhetoric. So with the sad fact of our children growing up to quickly in tow, we took my daughter to one of her favorite places…the mall.
In her 4 year old mind the mall is nothing more than a place to sit back on one of the provided benches and bask in her glory with a pretzel and a smoothie in hand. To my son it is a place to run full tilt, spin in circles under the central sky lit dome, and look at the cars that are placed in an empty store front by a local car salesmen.
It was while I was looking at some cars with my kids that I got gripped with anxiety. These bouts of anxiety I get are (for lack of better term) stupid. Well not stupid for me but to the casual observer they are down right ridicules. I really don’t know if anxiety is the right term to use honestly. My heart beats fast, I get sweaty, and my mind swirls…but the reason for feeling this way is where I have to question it.
While walking through the abandoned shopping space and gazing at the latest cars for sale it dawned on me that this was once a toy store that I loved as a kid. I’m surprised it took me so long to remember since the ritual of my kids darting between the cars and leaving their finger prints on the fresh wax has be going on for months now. To my credit most of the mall has become abandoned recently. Only a few anchor stores and the prerequisite Gamestop and F.Y.E. seem to be keeping the skeletal dinosaur of the mall alive.
All of a sudden I was overcome with memories of the toy store. Nothing really concrete and maybe that is where the anxiety came from. This bouts hit me all the time when I remember things from my childhood, hell it happens quite a lot while I write about silly things like robot toys and D&D. I always say it’s happy anxiety because it doesn’t come from feelings of fear or dread or stress, just happiness. But below the happiness is a sense of fear and dread because these are times and feelings I will never get back or feel again. These are things that are lost to time and only anchored by my memory – and now this blog.
I know it is really stupid and silly to use such a powerful word as anxiety to describe the feeling I feel. Believe me, I suffer from real anxiety and I have ever since I was a child. And while I’m on the subject of giving my street cred in the world of mental illnesses to gain the power to use the word anxiety…I have been diagnosed with depression and O.C.D.. Maybe all of this things have been mixed together to create a shit storm stew, who knows.
All I know is that my mind came to vivid life remembering where this toy store had their action figures, board games, cash register, and other assorted memories. The store predated Kay-Bee coming to the mall. Kay-Bee either bought them out or just moved into the same space. These memories are from anywhere between the end of the ’70s to maybe 1982-ish. I don’t even remember things like G.I. Joe, Transformers, or He-Man being there. The things I remember from this small and dark (not dark like scary, just dark like it was the era of mood lighting) store are Star Wars toys, D&D box sets, and one off things like Black Hole figures. This was the store where I got my life long friend, Wicket the Ewok stuffed “animal”. Which I should add I still have, love, and is in damn near perfect shape. (The only reason he is packed away is because I don’t want my kids to destroy him).
So yes my nostalgia comes at a price…a very low, low price – a bargain if you will. I have no idea where it comes from. Maybe it’s just the shit storm stew I mentioned above, maybe having issues with my childhood / parents, or maybe it’s just how I’m wired. But these feelings have become a barometer to me, a divining rod to point me in the direction of nostalgia. When I was putting together comics to sell – to make room in our new house and get some money together for baby number one – I used this feeling to guide me. If I felt something I kept it…if not, I sold it. Even the weirdest and non-Rob songs from the ’80s get me every time. Like “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner or “Borderline” by Madonna, these songs played on an endless loop on the radio while I drove with my parents to the beach for the first time. Some times they put me in a summer party mood or sometimes they make me cry because its a feeling and memory I will never have again…god I’m fucking weird. Could be a contender for a title to this post…LOL.
Sorry to just …I don’t know what to call it…but I felt like just having a introspective conversion. Due to my anti-social tendencies I have no idea if other people feel these things. I mentioned to my wife how I felt at the mall yesterday and she couldn’t understand. I don’t blame her, I don’t understand it. When everything is said and done I like it, I like feeling these things. They make me feel good, after the whole anxiety thing goes away. I do apologize for this “weirdness” and for anyone that has stuck around this far in, THANK YOU.
And I think I have found a title and maybe a featured post title to boot. Yay me!!
I need to also point out that on this shopping drip to the ol’ mall I stopped at the window of a Claires and stated “That makes my heart want to explode”. After my wife was done staring at me like I had three heads she asked what I meant. I pointed to a bunch of day-glow earrings shaped like stars and a pair of weird jelly fish ones. I said “Just reminds me of being a kid. Looks like the ’80s.”. In my defense, they did. She just said “oh” and kept walking because she knows where my head is at.