I should probably have seen it coming. The signs, after all, were written in the mirror: wrinkles around the eyes, more and more gray in the hair. Less visible was the structural damage, the cracking knees, the sore shoulders, the stiff neck. There’s no question I was outdated.
Still, it was a shock to wake up and read I was being replaced by condominiums. They say they’re going to be nice. Five stories—20 luxury units with retail space—to be ready by Christmas 2016. There will be a courtyard with a fountain, a rooftop deck and plenty of bike racks in the basement. Free WiFi. No parking, but with Zip Car and Uber and whatnot, who even drives anymore? Only people of my era, and we’re obsolete.
“There’s no question Ryan had his charms,” a man I’d never before met told the paper. His name was Stan and his bank, headquartered across the country, was proudly promoting these condos as another community improvement. “There was a time when Ryan was the place to be, but the future moves forward and mixed-use is what people want. Ryan barely had one use.”
He had a point. I should have long ago diversified my personal brand. I should at least have changed out of these sweatpants. And while I appreciated the readers who took to Facebook to suggest this was another example of our town losing its character, I tended to agree with those who said I was never as interesting as the rest remembered. “Jesus, now we’re going to get nostalgic about Ryan?” one wrote. I clicked “Like.”
The story said construction would start early next year and I figured that was plenty enough time to get my affairs in order before the bulldozers came. I thought about the kids who might move into my old space, the software developers and … um … the software developers. I guess maybe some graphic designers might move in too. An of-the-moment chef. Maybe a Vine star. They’re so fashionable, those Vine stars.
I hoped they liked the neighborhood, and I hoped they would have fun, like I once had. I hoped they wouldn’t be too upset when they, too, were turned into condos. It happens to us all, I thought. The future moves forward. Mixed-use is nice. I was glad I wasn’t being replaced by a strip mall. That’d be tough to take.
One day my daughter could come here and say, “My dad used to be here.” And her friend would say, “Where?” And she’d say, “There. Right there. Where software developer is coming from.”
“How do you know it’s a software developer,” her friend would say.
“They’re all software developers,” she’d reply.
“Oh. Your dad must have nice.”
“Not to get all nostalgic about him, but he was Ok. I guess. Want to get some coffee and then shop for a $1,500 lamp?”
“Yeah. This mixed-use is fantastic, isn’t?”
“It really is.”