A few nights ago, I was regaling my wife and her mother with tales of my Tuesday night visits to the record store. I was traveling a thread that started about attention spans and habits. I am that person who, once he has decided to do something will keep doing it until he is asked not to. This has caused a few embarrassments in my personal relationships. I had not been clued into the notion that dating was a mutual activity and simple persistence was not enough to maintain a connection. Not that I was a stalker, exactly, but anyone who witnessed me showing up at that same record store in the mall every Tuesday just after six might have imagined that I was in love with the record store girl.
I wasn't. I was in love with the idea that I might happen upon that one gem or missing link in my collection. I was determined not to let something get past my ever watching eye, and knowing that Tuesdays were new release day was going to keep me from going more than a few hours between when that LP showed up in the bins and the moment it sat on my turntable. This allowed me the Wednesday conversational gambit, "Hey, did you hear the new Van Halen album?" Because I had. Not that this was a weekly occurrence, mind you. There were plenty of Tuesday nights that I meandered out of the record store with nothing my hands but the certainty that I would be back next week. And the week after. Until I found treasure.
When the record industry made its big turn into compact discs, I kept going. Now I had the double-edged challenge of finding new releases on CD that would replace my now aging and outmoded collection of vinyl.
Many was the time that I tried, in vain, to gather interest in these pilgrimages. But this was a more solitary time in my life, when Tuesday nights were all about the record store and getting a slice of pepperoni downstairs at the mall. Many years later, I used to drag my wife and infant son along to Tower Records while I attempted to scratch this same itch. Happily, there were magazines there to keep mom busy and comic books for the boy. There was no pepperoni slice at the end, however. Only Burger King.
And now, new release day has shifted to the digital friendly Friday. I only need to boot up my computer to take a peek at what I have been missing. Or what I need to pull out of some cloud to hear for the first time. Or the last.
In this case, I didn't break the habit. The habit broke me.