Requiem for a Record Player
Years ago I attended a literary event at a record shop - an actual record shop, as in vinyl, though they also sold CDs. You probably clean your house for company, and you might expect a business to tidy its restroom before hosting an in-store event. You might expect it, sure - but you may find that some businesses are more concerned with keeping it real than keeping it clean.
What I found was that I was expected to relieve myself in the middle of a room filled to the brim with broken turntables.
Like an elephant graveyard strewn with massive bones, these ancient record players stretched to the rafters, encroaching upon even the toilet itself. The sight of it has haunted me for years - to the point that it has become a frequent location my dreams. It was so surreal, to see hundreds of turntables packed into that restroom - I would almost believe I had dreamt it in the first place, if I didn't have other witnesses.
The sight of all of those dead machines prompted a memory of my first record player - a portable printed all over like denim fabric - and I realized that I didn't know what had happened to it. Was it buried somewhere in another record store restroom? Hidden in the dusty recesses of someone's garage? Moldering away at the bottom of a landfill? I had loved it intensely, but I replaced it with a hot pink cassette player without a second thought.
Each of these turntables had their own untold stories of abandonment, I'm sure - each one unique and slightly sad.
When I left that place - that haunted place where turntables go to die - I felt like I had been let in on a secret that I didn't particularly want to know. There are no last rites for record players, no ceremonies of attrition for those of us who walk away from them. There is only a room filled with mute, broken turntables.
I hope I fare better in the afterlife.