Last week I was leaving the “new” hardware store and cutting through the back parking lot of the plaza. There was a section that seemed so out-of-place. It was a big open area enclosed by a long section of guardrail. As I passed, I noticed the old asphalt pavement inside the area. For one millisecond, I thought “why would they pave the section that is inaccessible?” A millisecond is a blink in time, and sometimes plenty long enough to work things out in my crazy head. I suddenly remembered that the pavement in question is none other than the remnants of the old First National Supermarket; a place where I used to work as a teenager. There was a large puddle, some wetland reed grass, and a sky so blue, that after I left the lot, I turned my car around to go back and take a picture of the market; “The Lost Supermarket.”
As far as jobs go, it was a great place. The First National store I initially started working in was closed down. I was offered a job at another store but couldn’t take it because it was too far away, and I didn’t have a car (alleged child abuse in this day and age of America). One day I walked into the “Lost” store to cash my final check ( a massive amount; maybe $32). The new manager of the store, Dave, happened to be the man put in charge of closing down my old store. We got along great. I didn’t realize it at the time, but apparently, I was an excellent worker. At 16 years old, it never occurred to me that some kids my age were terrible workers. The truth was, youth jobs were a premium of supply and demand. At the time, if kids didn’t work out they just seemed to disappear; replaced in an instant.
Anyway, I told Dave my dilemma, and he not only offered me a job, but told me to run home, change my shirt, get a tie, and get back there. I enjoyed working at that store. I could still walk to work, there were plenty of cute girls to flirt with, the guys were funny, and I existed as a “grocery store rock star,” whom my fellow employees were always quite unsure of how I dropped in out of nowhere to work beside them. They accepted me anyway.
Staring at the empty parking lot, a flood of memories rushed in. Flood would be an apt description, as “that” store sat in a floodplain, and was constantly awash with water. This wasn’t the first time, I thought of my old friends and fellow workers. It’s kind of like any recollection of people who have gone back to their old schools. Without sounding like a ghost story (which by the way is a huge cottage industry right now), sometimes you can see pictures and faces in your mind. You can hear voices (in a pleasant/non-violent way). Sometimes it brings happiness and joy, sometimes not.
As the Twilight Zone would say; “Imagine if you would……” Did you ever stand or sit in an “old” place, be it a building, a park bench, or the living room in your home, and wonder who stood or sat in that exact spot you’re in right now, sometime in the past? Did you ever wonder exactly what they were thinking, hoping for, or smiling about? Did you ever wonder who will sit in that exact spot long after you and I are gone? Could you transmit your thoughts to them, wishing those thoughts will linger around in space long enough so that person will think about you a long time from now? Try it!
Sometimes, “lost” is only a state of mind.